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Colchester cop pleads not guilty to DUI - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Colchester cop pleads not guilty to DUI

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Ofc. Jeremy Wyskiel Ofc. Jeremy Wyskiel
BURLINGTON, Vt. -

Prosecutors say it was an argument outside a Colchester bowling alley sports bar that was the first red flag. An eyewitness allegedly overheard Jeremy Wyskiel, 36, and his girlfriend fighting about the off-duty officer being too drunk to drive.

"This is a crime that affects everybody in the community; everybody drives on the roads. So, this case is a priority and we're going to treat it like any other case," Chittenden County State's Attorney T.J. Donovan said.

The eyewitness allegedly followed the officer's car north on Route 7, telling police Wyskiel was speeding, swerving and almost went off the road. The six-year veteran of the Colchester Police Department was later arrested on suspicion of DUI, a charge he denied in court Thursday.

"The police did their job here," Donovan said. "Once Colchester Police responded and knew it was one of their own, they called in another department. Vermont State Police came in and did the processing in this case."

Wyskiel told a state police investigator he was stressed at work and reached out for help. On the night in question, he claims, he had a shot of mint schnapps, 2-3 beers before bowling, and another 2-4 beers at the bar before he drove.

"I've just now become aware of some of the allegations," said Brooks McArthur, Wyskiel's lawyer. "I think it's unfortunate. Jeremy is a well-respected officer."

Wyskiel is the second Chittenden County cop McArthur has defended against DUI allegations in the last eight months. Burlington's Deputy Chief, Andi Higbee, took a plea deal, admitting to a lesser charge. He has since retired.

"They have a hard job. They work incredibly long hours. It's a dangerous job," Donovan said.

Wyskiel, a former Coast Guard petty officer, refused field sobriety and preliminary breath tests. But back at the barracks he consented and blew 0.217-- nearly three times the 0.08 legal limit-- 2.5 hours after he had been spotted driving.

The judge released him, but banned him from drinking alcohol or carrying a weapon. He must also undergo alcohol and mental health assessments.

"He's doing everything right here. And that's something we think should happen not only in the interest of Mr. Wyskiel, but in the interest of public safety," Donovan said.

"If there are any issues, he going to address those issues," McArthur said.

Wyskiel remains on administrative leave while his case plays out. Prosecutors say he is legally allowed to drive, pending the outcome of a civil suspension hearing.

The Colchester Police Department is also conducting its own internal personnel investigation.

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