FOND DU LAC - It may be one of the strangest plea deals in the history of drunk driving-related arrests in Wisconsin.
Dashcam video showed the arrest of Larry Schreiber last summer, as he was suspected of driving drunk.
Schreiber is the President of Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield in Wisconsin.
Three tests apparently showed him to be well over the legal limit for blood alcohol concentration.
However, instead of receiving an OWI conviction, Schreiber was convicted of operating an aircraft while drunk
, which means he did not lose his license for six months.
Some people believe he received preferential treatment because he is a wealthy executive.
The Fond du Lac County District Attorney's office counters that idea.
According to District Attorney Daniel Kaminsky, there were problems with the case, and that sometimes prosecutors need to get creative to ensure a conviction.
FOND DU LAC, Wis. -- He doesn't have a pilot's license, and he was never behind the controls of a plane, but that didn't stop the Fond du Lac district attorney from charging a man with drunk flying.
Highway 41 South of Fond du Lac isn't exactly a runway, but 48-year-old Lawrence Schreiber's DUI conviction from a stop there last June shows the charge "DUI-Flying."
"I think most people not being in the legal profession or justice system would say, ‘Boy, that seems awfully strange to resolve a case with a (DUI) airplane offense when he was obviously not in an airplane but was in a car,’" said District Attorney Dan Kaminsky.
Kaminsky said he felt he needed to avoid taking the case to a trial, saying he feared some inconsistent alcohol test results would let Schreiber off. Schrieber's lawyer agreed to the deal.
"This expert would've had to say there might be a problem with one of these two tests, in their validity, in their accuracy," Kaminsky said. "That's an unacceptable risk. No reason to go to trial when all I had to do was avoid the driver's license suspension.”
The charge doesn't result in a six-month license suspension, but all of the other penalties and fines are the same as the first-offense DUI Schrieber otherwise faced.
Fond du Lac sheriff’s officials didn't return calls, but Chief Deputy Mark Strand told the Fond du Lac Reporter that the issue was brought to his attention by a shift supervisor there.
"They felt this wasn't a good resolution to the situation, and I would have to agree with them," Strand told the paper, "The District Attorney's office has the right to resolve the case as they see fit, but we have a difference of opinion."
Schreiber is the president of Anthem Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Wisconsin, but Kaminsky said he didn't get special treatment.
“I don't know who this man is,” Kaminsky said. “I've never met him before. I have no connection to him. I didn't know what he did for a living. It’s absurd.”
Under Wisconsin law, the DUI-Flying conviction counts as a first-offense drunk driving, meaning a subsequent DUI would be a second offense.
Schreiber's attorney said he couldn't comment on the case.
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