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Appeals court approves new trial for Oneida man charged with 13th OWI

WAUSAU, WI (WTAQ) - A man was given a new trial Tuesday in a drunk driving case in which a defense witness got into a confrontation with two jurors.

60-year-old Gerald Blasczyk of Oneida was convicted on all four criminal charges filed in 2011 in Outagamie County. That was after a witness saw Blasczyk passed out in his SUV while it was still running.

A third person, Frank Vandehei, told jurors it was he -- and not Blasczyk -- who was driving the vehicle. After his testimony, Vandehei confronted a juror in the parking lot about a question the juror asked in the courtroom. A second juror witnessed the confrontation.

Tuesday, the Third District Appellate Court in Wausau ruled that the incident could have influenced the jurors before they convicted Blasczyk -- and that's why the defendant deserves a new trial.

Blasczyk was charged with his 13th OWI offense, battery to authorities, and disorderly conduct. That was after he was found passed out in his SUV, which was still running at the time.

(Story courtesy of Wheeler News Service)