Man Almost Killed by Drunk Driver Honors his RescuersSubmitted: 04/26/2013
Story By Kailey Burton

ST. GERMAIN - A drunk driver took nearly everything from Jason Breitenfeld. He's extremely lucky to be alive today. On January 20th he was providing a safe ride home from the bars, when a drunk driver nearly killed him.

"There's no way I should have survived," he said.

That's not an understatement. It took rescue crews an hour and 45 minutes with the jaws of life to free Jason Breitnefeld from this wreck. His leg was almost completely cut off, his hip and ankle shattered, leg bones snapped.

"My hip right now has 13 screws, and 2 metal plates holding it together with the reattachment of my leg and ankle, I have a titanium rod that goes from my knee to the ankle," said Breitenfeld.

Some rescue members didn't think he would survive. Amazingly he has BOTH his legs, but doctors think it'll be at least a year before he can walk on his own. Jason isn't used to sitting idle.

"I was a fulltime college student at North Central Tech college in Wausau, I had 3 part-time jobs... I was a student ambassador, for a while I was student board president," he said.

One man got behind the wheel drunk, and took that all away.

"I'd like to know WHY. Why would you take the chance? They think something like this is never going to happen to them, that they're not going to get into an accident.... A safe ride home, is free."

Jason will see the man who hit him for the first time in court next week. He'll ask him that exact question.

"The individual who hit me, this was his 4th OWI, and second time where he's caused major injury, said Breitenfeld, "I don't think the drinking and driving laws are as strict as they need to be."

"Get a friend, call a cab, do what you need to do, but don't get behind the wheel."

Tomorrow friends are holding a benefit for Jason. It will be an ANTI- drinking and driving event, and they'll be honoring the people who helped save his life.

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MERRILL - This weekend Northcentral Technical College hosted its fourth annual Fire and EMS University for firefighters across Wisconsin.

It provides training on firefighting and EMS techniques at the Public Safety Center of Excellence in Merrill.

In a simulation training exercise, firefighters have their hoods covering their face so they couldn't see anything when they entered a basement. They had to feel a fire hose and use teamwork to get around and save a dummy.

Firefighters from all over Wisconsin can come to the all-day event. They came to refresh their skills, teach and learn new techniques.

"We put out some classes that are very interesting and not run every day and if it applies to their department they'll send people," said Dean of the Public Safety Division of Northcentral Technical College Doug Jennings.

The school keeps adding other training tools as well. Just this year they added more training features, such as a simulator that allows law enforcement to practice driving trucks, squad cars and EMS vehicles.

On Saturday the students also trained with the aerial ladder.

"We are the only fire department in Lincoln County with an aerial ladder," said Merrill Fire Chief Dave Savone. "And so most of our firefighters have to operate our aerial ladder. And so we felt this truck operation aerial ladder operations is a great class for them to come and see."

UST Fire Apparatus brought a new aerial ladder truck for the students to practice with, and teachers from southern Wisconsin and St. Louis, Mo., also came to help coach.

Firefighters say they want to constantly re-educate themselves.

"It's great to get the extra practice," said Dean Johnson from the Town of Wausau Fire Department.

Northcentral Technical College also offers semester schedule curricula for law enforcement and fire science. 

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MERRILL - Merrill residents might have heard a lot of music in town today.

Merrill High School hosted the Merrill Marching Invitational. Three high school marching bands took over the football field at Merrill High School Sunday.

Antigo, D.C. Everest, and Merrill high schools all showcased their musical creativity.

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MILWAUKEE - A published report says unauthorized improvements have been made to a footpath on state land that a donor to Gov. Scott Walker has been trying to buy.

A spokesman for business executive Elizabeth Uihlein acknowledged that workers at her adjoining property may have cleaned up the trail slightly.

But the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (http://bit.ly/1Z18WU8 ) reports those who have seen the trail say the improvements are significant.

Uihlein is seeking to buy 1.75 acres along Rest Lake, where the footpath is located. But a tentative deal with the Department of Natural Resources was put on hold after critics raised questions.

A DNR spokesman says the agency inspected the site on Thursday and found an "established trail." He declined to say whether the department had talked to Uihlein or her representatives.

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EAGLE RIVER - Eagle River hosted its 36th annual Cranberry Fest during October's first weekend.

Organizers say the weather this year brought in many more visitors.

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RHINELANDER - Harvest Hoedown started Saturday at noon at the Woodpecker Bar and Grill in Rhinelander.

The event featured a hay maze, horse-drawn carriage rides, food, and live music all afternoon.

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NEKOOSA - People in Nekoosa could go back in time this weekend.

Volunteers at Pointe Basse recreated a historical camp that portrayed the lives of people from the 1700s and early 1800s.

Volunteers from all across the U.S. had a piece of history to share.

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WOOD COUNTY - Two people who stole a UTV led police on a wild chase early Friday morning. Friday night, those suspects were still on the run.

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