By Adam Hocking
MARSHFIELD — Police are seeking a Marshfield man who failed to appear for his own plea hearing on Tuesday. Judge Todd Wolf issued a bench warrant for Eric R. Leffel, 30, on May 31 as Leffel had been scheduled to appear in court at 10 a.m. that same day.
Officials from Wood County Jail confirmed that Leffel was not in custody as of about 4 p.m. Wednesday.
Leffel faces misdemeanor charges for operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated, fourth offense, and operating with prohibited alcohol concentration, fourth offense, after reportedly attempting to fool a preliminary breath test by spitting into the device.
The misdemeanor charges stem from an incident, which occurred on Dec. 13, 2015, around 2:30 a.m. According to the criminal complaint, a Marshfield police officer conducted a traffic stop on West Magee Street after noticing that a vehicle being driven was registered to an individual with a revoked driver’s license. The complaint also said that the officer noticed “suspicious driving.”
After pulling the vehicle over, the officer verbally identified the driver as Leffel. According to the complaint, the officer observed that Leffel had “bloodshot and glossy” eyes and “was delayed in answering his questions with regard to where he was headed.”
Leffel reportedly said he had not been drinking prior to driving the vehicle. According to the complaint, Leffel performed his field sobriety test poorly. The officer then administered a preliminary breath test. However, according to the complaint, “The defendant would only give short breaths and eventually began sucking air through the tube.” Leffel allegedly also spit into the device at one point to “prevent a reading from occurring.”
According to the complaint, Leffel was then taken to Ministry Saint Joseph’s Hospital for a blood draw, which revealed he had a blood alcohol level of 0.214.
For each charge in this case, Leffel faces a fine of up to $2,000, a jail sentence of up to one year, revocation of his driver’s license for a period of no more than three years, and mandated alcohol and drug abuse assessment.
Assistant District Attorney Nicholas Grode, who is prosecuting Leffel’s case, said he had not yet decided whether to pursue additional charges after the missed court appearance on Tuesday.