01/24/12 Indiana Conservation Officers are investigating a personal injury accident involving an intoxicated snowmobiler. Chase Walleske age 29 of Bremen was arrested Sunday evening by Indiana Conservation Officer Mark Richter after Walleske crashed his snowmobile into a concrete barrier on the new US31 bypass just south of Pierce Road in St. Joseph County. Walleske was riding with a friend at approximately 7:00pm when he failed to negotiate his snowmobile around the barrier. Richter stated Walleske was traveling too fast for the weather conditions in addition to being intoxicated which made for a potentially deadly combination. Walleske suffered facial lacerations and lost a tooth but Richter stated wearing a helmet very likely saved Walleskes’ life.
Walleske failed his field sobriety tests and he tested 0.15% on a breath test at the scene. Walleske refused to submit to a certified breath test at the jail. Walleske was taken to the hospital for observation and was released a short time later. Walleske faces charges of operating a snowmobile while intoxicated and refusal to submit to a certified breath test. Additional charges are pending as the case will be reviewed by the prosecutor’s office. Richter stated “Snowmobile operators should remember that you will be arrested if you operate a snowmobile while intoxicated or impaired. Just as with a car you are considered intoxicated in Indiana with a BAC of 0.08% or higher. You may be arrested with a BAC lower than 0.08% if you show signs of impairment”.
Indiana Conservation Officers conduct snowmobile patrols looking for impaired and intoxicated drivers. Conservation Officers encourage snowmobilers to enjoy their sport this winter however want to discourage the use of alcohol when operating your snowmobile as evidenced by this accident. Other units assisting at the scene were the St. Joseph County Sheriff’s Department and the Lakeville and South Bend Fire and EMS personnel.