Sauk Co. woman accused in seven crashes since August

BARABOO (WKOW) -- A Sauk County woman accused of causing seven crashes in the last six months went before a judge on Thursday.

Joni Sampson, 60, appeared by video conference. She's accused of driving high multiple times and causing crashes more than a handful of times in just months.

Her court appearance came as she's accused of battery to a law enforcement officer and resisting arrest after police said she injured an officer during one of those OWI crash investigations on Dec 30.

In August, Baraboo Police Chief Mark Schauf said she was involved in two crashes, one of which they suspect she was under the influence. In November, there were four crashes where they suspect her of driving under the influence twice.

The final crash was the one on Dec. 30.

We're always concerned for all our citizens when they're impacted like this," said Schauf. "One of the goals will be to try and get help for these people.

Assistant Sauk County District Attorney Cody McConnell alleged drug abuse, saying Sampson has been huffing and driving. He asked for a $5,000 cash-only bond.

"It is a patter of escalating behavior over the past month where Ms. Sampson continue to drive and engage in dangerous conduct, and huffing substances she should not be," he said.

The public defender disagreed, asking the judge to give Sampson a $50 cash bond.

Judge Patricia Barrett gave Sampson a $1,000 signature bond . Bail conditions include absolute sobriety at all times and she is not allowed to drive a car.

Currently, three of the OWI's she is accused of are first offenses. Those are all pending with the city of Baraboo as traffic citations. Police said there has to be a conviction on the very first before they can do anything about the others.

In the meantime, Sampson's license had been taken away but Schauf said she continued to drive.

"We may go, 'Oh, man, we just want to make sure that this person doesn't hurt somebody,'" he said. "But there's a reality here that the due process of the law can't be compromised period."

The city attorney's office is working with county prosecutors to make sure they resolve the case in the best interest of the community and Sampson.

More at WKOW 27 News

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