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Wayne Post
  • Wayne County GOP leader charged with DWI

  • Republican Party Chairman Daniel A. Olson, 59, of 2728 Layton Street Road, Lyons, was charged Aug. 29 with driving while intoxicated, aggravated driving while intoxicated with a blood-alcohol content above .18 percent, failure to stop at a stop sign and speed not reasonable and prudent.

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  • The leading figure in the Wayne County Republican Party was charged Sunday night after he allegedly got behind the wheel intoxicated, went off the road and hit a concrete water meter station.
    Republican Party Chairman Daniel A. Olson, 59, of 2728 Layton Street Road, Lyons, was charged Aug. 29 with driving while intoxicated, aggravated driving while intoxicated with a blood-alcohol content above .18 percent, failure to stop at a stop sign and speed not reasonable and prudent.
    Wayne County Sheriff Barry Virts said deputies, state police and Alton Fire and Ambulance were called to the intersection of Preemption and Ridge roads, where at about 9:30 p.m., a witness saw Olson drive through the T-intersection and go off the road.
    The right side of Olson’s car hit a concrete water meter station, owned by the Wayne County Water Authority, causing damage to both the car and the structure.
    The witness told deputies that after the accident, Olson backed his car into the woods and shut it off.
    Deputies said Olson’s blood-alcohol content registered .27 percent, more than three times the legal limit. He was not injured in the crash. Bruising on his nose and eyes, deputies were told, was caused earlier when a window fell on him.
    Virts said Olson was “compliant and cooperative through the prosecution” process, but confirmed he did name-drop the fact that the sheriff was his friend.
    Olson was a key campaign proponent when Virts ran for and won the three-way race for sheriff last November.
    “People drop my name all the time,” the sheriff said. “I did receive a call. My standard reply is ‘do your job’.”
    Friendship aside, Virts said it’s his job to make sure he and his deputies follow the law — there aren’t, he said, special privileges from his office for anyone.
    “Thank God no one was hurt,” the sheriff said. “I hope it would be a wake-up call for him and for other people. He’s my friend, but we can’t tolerate driving while intoxicated.”
    Olson did not return a call for comment.
    The case has been referred to the Wayne County District Attorney’s office for review. The DA, Rick Healy, said that in Wayne County, all DWI cases are treated the same way.
    “I never reduce DWI cases,” he said. “You either plead guilty or go to trial.”
    Last year, he added, Wayne County had the second-highest DWI conviction rate in the state.
    Olson faces a minimum of fines, the revocation of his driver’s license and restrictions under the new Leandra’s Law. The maximum sentence is $1,000 in fines and up to one year in jail.
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