UPDATE: Off-duty La Crosse Police officer arrested for OWI - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

UPDATE: Off-duty La Crosse Police officer arrested for OWI

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La Crosse, WI (WXOW) -

An update on the arrest of an off-duty La Crosse Police Officer James Gegenfurtner.

He was arrested Tuesday for Operating a Vehicle While Intoxicated and Hit and Run-Property Damage to a mailbox.

According to a La Crosse County Sheriff's Department report, officers were called to the Town of Holland after a pickup truck hit a mailbox around 3:30 p.m. The homeowner gave officers a description of the vehicle that had left the scene.

A short time later, Deputy Scott Neiman approached a pickup truck that matched the description of the suspect's vehicle. Inside, he found a man in the driver's seat, with his eyes closed and chin on his chest. 

The driver identified himself as James Gegenfurtner.

The vehicle was still running, in reverse, with the driver's foot on the seat.

When Deputy Nieman asked him to turn the vehicle off, it took Gegenfurtner about two minutes to accomplish the task. 

When asked to step out of the vehicle, Gegenfurtner fell over.

Later on, Gegenfurtner's preliminary breath test was .24, three times the legal limit.

Since his arrest, Gegenfurtner is on administrative leave from the La Crosse Police Department. An internal investigation by the department on Gegenfurtner is ongoing.

Gegenfurtner is scheduled to appear in court on July 12. 

Read the police report below.


An off-duty La Crosse Police officer is arrested on an OWI charge after a hit and run incident near Holmen Tuesday.

According to a statement from La Crosse Police, Officer James Gegenfurtner was involved in a hit-and-run accident involving property damage in the Town of Holland around 3:30 p.m.

The La Crosse County Sheriff's Department investigation showed that at the time, Gegenfurtner appeared to be under the influence. His preliminary breath test registered a .24, three times the legal limit.

Gegenfurtner was arrested on a charge of operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated.

The department statement said that Gegenfurtner has served in the La Crosse Police Department since 1996, most recently as a first shift patrol officer. 

Chief Ron Tischer said in the statement, “The allegations against Officer Gegenfurtner are very concerning and do not reflect the standards of a La Crosse Police Officer.  I will ensure that a fair and thorough investigation is completed." 

Gegenfurtner is on administrative leave pending a full internal investigation into the incident. Assistant Police Chief Robert Abraham and Field Services Captain Troy Nedegaard are conducting the investigation. 

The La Crosse County District Attorney's office is handling the prosecution of the case according to police.

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