After being in custody for 417 days in the Vilas County Jail, a 69-year-old Arbor Vitae man will spend the next nine years in the Wisconsin Prison System after a plea and sentencing hearing last Wednesday in Vilas County Circuit Court.

Timothy Trimble was charged in Vilas County with 10th offense operating while intoxicated (OWI) and had another OWI charge pending in Oneida County consolidated with the Vilas County charge. 

The Vilas County charge was issued after Trimble posted a $15,000 cash bond in Oneida County. Trimble was then held in Vilas under a $50,000 cash bond after he was arrested Aug. 12, 2017.

Assistant Vilas County District Attorney David Breedlove described the proposed plea agreement to Vilas Circuit Judge Neal A. Nielsen III.

“This involves Trimble pleading no contest to count one, OWI 10th, and count two, OWI 11th, with a sentence of nine years in count one of four years initial confinement followed by five years extended supervision and nine years in count two with five years initial confinement and four years extended supervision, to run consecutively,” said BreedĀ­love.

In addition, Breedlove suggested a total fine for both counts of $8,052 with driver’s license revocation and jail credit of 417 days on count one and 27 days on count two. The charges are Class E felonies that carry a maximum of up to 15 years in prison with an initial confinement of 10 years and a maximum fine of $50,000.

Judge Nielsen accepted the pleas and found Trimble guilty of OWI 10th and 11th. Nielsen then reviewed Trimble’s previous OWI convictions, starting with his first two in California, three in Oneida County, one in Iron County, one in Illinois and two in Vilas County.

Defense Attorney Brian Bennett sought to have the prison terms run concurrent, indicating Trimble has not hurt others while under the influence.

“He has hurt nobody but himself and has been in no accidents, no personal property damage, no high-speed chases,” Bennett told the court.

Bennett then told the court something he said he has never heard before from any of his OWI clients.

“My client is 69 years old and he is more than willing to trade a shorter sentence length of confinement in exchange to be on ignition interlock for the rest of his life,” Bennett said. “In addition, he has voluntarily offered to go through a driver safety plan and I’ve never seen that before, either.”

But Judge Nielsen was not impressed, saying he read Trimble’s Letter to the Editor in the July 24, 2018, edition of the Vilas County News-Review.

“You (Trimble) asked (in the letter) what happened to the days when the cops would simply drive you home,” Nielsen quoted from the letter.

“People are dying on our highways by drunk drivers and I find your view antiquated, ignorant and offensive,” said Nielsen. “You have multiple battery convictions and that’s what alcohol does; you are not a nonviolent offender, you have zero judgment when you drink.”

Judge Nielsen said he rarely gets someone into court “in this stratosphere of OWI.” He then accepted the state’s recommendations for consecutive sentences that will place Trimble in state prison for nine years followed by nine years on extended supervision.

Bennett indicated the defense intended to file for post-conviction relief.

According to the complaint from the Vilas County case, law enforcement officers received a report of a customer who was allegedly harassing and making sexual comments toward an employee at the Lac du Flambeau Smokeshop about 11 a.m. Aug. 12, 2017. 

The man, who was later identified as Trimble, left the store and apparently walked back to his parked vehicle at the business. Authorities responded and located Trimble, who had an odor of intoxicants and was arrested. Trimble said he was not driving the vehicle, but a store surveillance camera showed that Trimble was the operator of the vehicle, according to the complaint.