On Saturday, June 27 at approximately 2:22 a.m., Columbia County dispatch received a call for a two-vehicle accident near the intersection of Highway 16 and Dunning Road in the Town of Pacific. The caller told dispatch that the driver of one of the vehicles fled the scene on foot into a wooded area as law enforcement was en route.

Upon arrival, deputies began a K9 track for the driver who fled. Shortly after beginning the K9 track, the driver was found in the wooded area and taken into custody without issue. This driver was identified as Joseph Gay, 59 of Madison. After questioning and a subsequent investigation, Gay was arrested for OWI 6th offense and felony bail jumping.

As deputies conducted their investigation of the crash scene, they learned that Gay had been traveling west bound on Highway 16 and crossed over the center line striking the other vehicle which was east bound on Highway 16. EMS was contacted to check over both drivers and neither were found to be injured.

The operator of the second vehicle was identified as James Wilkens, 28 of Beaver Dam. It was determined that Wilkens had also been consuming alcohol and was placed through field sobriety tests and ultimately arrested for OWI 1st offense.

Gay was charged with OWI 6th offense, felony bail jumping, operating left of center, hit and run and possession of open intoxicants in a motor vehicle. Gay remains in custody at the Columbia County jail awaiting initial appearance. Wilkins was charged with OWI 1st offense and was later released to a sober responsible party. The Sheriff’s Office was assisted by Divine Savior EMS and Blystones Towing.

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