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.
MADISON - The Wisconsin State Patrol says it saw more drugged drivers on the roads and had a significant increase in drug arrests from 2016 to 2017.
Wisconsin Public Radio reports that the State Patrol saw a 20 percent increase in drug arrests during that time period, with fewer than 2,900 arrests in 2016 to more than 3,400 last year. A drug arrest involves the possession of illegal narcotics or paraphernalia.
HARSHAW - Rhinelander charter school students mixed in math with science, social studies, and reading projects on Thursday.
Northwoods Community Elementary School hosted parents to show off their work. Some classes did the math to plot out a vegetable garden. Others did research on Wisconsin counties and planned a weeklong trip there.
"I added decimals to count up all my rates for my bills, all the admissions to state parks, and renting," explained Oceana Patulski, who did a project on Door County.
MADISON - A new report shows Wisconsin's unemployment rate hit a record low in February.
The state Department of Workforce Development released data Thursday that shows the unemployment rate dipped to 2.9 percent in February, down 0.2 percent from January to mark a record low. The previous record was 3 percent unemployment in July 1999.
RHINELANDER - On Thursday night, two of three candidates made the case for why they should become Rhinelander's next mayor. A panel of media members, including Newswatch 12's own Ben Meyer, questioned the candidates for an hour, live on WXPR.
The two candidates at the forum argued between the power of a fresh perspective and a wealth of experience.
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