More details have emerged of the arrest this past weekend of former Wisconsin state Sen. Randy Hopper on a drunk-driving charge. Hopper, a Republican, was defeated this past August in recall elections stemming from Gov. Scott Walker’s anti-public employee union legislation.
Hopper was pulled over into a grocery store parking lot, after witnesses reported seeing him almost cause a head-on collision. The Green Bay Press Gazette reports that officers administered a field sobriety test — in which Hopper could not keep his balance, and did not correctly recite the order of the alphabet, and then declined to take a breath test.
During the ride in the squad car on the way to the county jail, Hopper tried to start a conversation with the arresting officer, Deputy Nicholas Venne:
“Don’t ever run for office, by the way,” Hopper said. “Because if you did, someone like this guy (complainant) will call you in.”
Venne focused on driving while Hopper spoke.
When Hopper asked if he could know who reported him, Venne said the report will be available since it is public record.
“I am sure it will be public,” Hopper said while he rested his chin on his hand in the back seat of the squad car.
Hopper also asked Venne: “Will you put down there that you didn’t think that I (was) driving; you never saw me driving; you don’t know I was driving. I didn’t do anything illegal.”
Venne responded that he was working from witness statements that Hopper had been driving.
Hopper reportedly paused, staring in silence. He then said: “They told me I was the devil earlier, too. I am not that.”
Hopper declined to take an evidentiary breath test. However, jail staff members were able to get a preliminary breath test that registered a blood alcohol content of 0.13%, above the legal limit of 0.08%.
In addition to the backlash against Walker’s policies, Hopper simultaneously faced his own political headaches due to a messy divorce — and claims by his estranged wife that he “now lives mostly in Madison” after having an affair with a younger woman, Republican aide and lobbyist Valerie Cass.
That controversy might very well have made the difference in Hopper’s 51%-49% defeat by Democrat Jessica King.
Cass was herself in the car with Hopper, and reportedly became upset when he was arrested, and yelled at the family who had called the police.