By Patrick Lynn
A 38-year-old Custer man on Friday was sentenced to spend a year in jail and three years on probation after causing seven vehicles to crash in two separate incidents on I-39 last year.
Judge Robert Shannon stayed a three-year prison stint at Joshua Cisewski’s sentencing in Portage Co. Circuit Court, provided Cisewski follows conditions of his bond. Shannon ordered Cisewski remain absolute sobriety and not operate a vehicle without a valid license.
Cisewski was arrested last November after causing a series of crashes on I-39. According to the criminal complaint, Cisewski took his mother’s Jetta without permission and drove it while intoxicated, eventually crossing the median of the highway and rolling the car onto its roof.
Witnesses at the scene reported seeing Cisewski toss empty liquor bottles as he fled the scene on foot. Cisewski was found by a security guard about an hour later hiding in the treeline near the AIG building.
According to Lt. Tracey Aldrich from the Stevens Point Fire Department, emergency crews were first called to northbound lanes of I-39 just north of the County Hwy. HH ramp shortly after 6 p.m. on Nov. 16.
“We had three cars that crashed into each other,” Aldrich said hours after the accident. “The fourth car was thrown on to its roof and located about 100 feet north of that impact.”
Aldrich said while crews were assessing that accident scene, some motorists in the southbound lanes slowed to watch the scene as they passed, causing additional accidents on the other side of the median.
“People were distracted and caused four more accidents, all right in front of us,” he added. “So that was eight more patients; I knew we’d need additional resources.”
Based on the number of vehicles involved, Aldrich said he called in all the help he could. Fire and medic units from the city were joined by crews from Plover, Hull, Park Ridge, Amherst, and United Emergency Medical Response from Wisconsin Rapids.
The Portage Co. TIMS (Traffic Incident Management) team was also called in to help keep the scene secure, which Aldrich said included closing down multiple on-ramps throughout the city. Law enforcement units from multiple agencies were also on the scene to assist.
As a precaution, ambulances from Mosinee and Iola were requested but were later canceled.
As a result of the accidents, one motorist’s dog died and another person was left partially paralyzed.