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Fire Chief in Onalaska could get 5-day suspension after OWI charge

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Onalaska’s fire chief faces a five-day suspension for speeding and driving drunk, and then making comments to police after his traffic stop. 

The proposed punishment for Chief Billy Hayes is spelled out in a stipulated agreement posted on the city of Onalaska web page. 

According to the agreement, Hayes admitted he was stopped for driving drunk and speeding, and that he reportedly mentioned his position with the city to get out of a ticket. 

It’s that comment that is considered a violation of city policy about proper conduct for employees.   

Hayes also admitted to drinking with Assistant Police Chief Jeff Cavender, who retired shortly after being placed on leave because of the incident. 

The Onalaska police and fire commission is scheduled to vote on the agreement and penalty at a meeting Monday.

The agreement also noted that Hayes will get a review nine months from now to see whether he has lived up to the agreement. 

A native of Prairie du Chien, Brad graduated from UW - La Crosse and has worked in radio news for more than 30 years, mostly in the La Crosse area. He regularly covers local courts and city and county government. Brad produces the features "Yesterday in La Crosse" and "What's Buried on Brad's Desk." He also writes the website "Triviazoids," which finds odd connections between events that happen on a certain date, and he writes and performs with the local comedy group Heart of La Crosse. Brad been featured on several national TV programs because of his memory skills.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Becky

    April 24, 2019 at 12:34 am

    So sad that they did this… Seriously?!? With Cabs, Bar safe ride, Uber & Lyft available there is ZERO reason to drink & drive. Should be more than a five day suspension.

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