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8th OWI charge filed against Onalaska driver whose vehicle caught fire after a crash

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An Onalaska man says he was drinking at home the other day, and ran out of beer, and when a friend invited him over, he decided to drive to the friend’s house. 

Robert Christianson didn’t get to his friend’s place on Friday.  He crashed off a road in Farmington, and his SUV caught on fire.

Christianson wasn’t hurt badly, but he’s now accused of driving drunk.  Eighth offense. 

Christianson was released after a court hearing on Monday, after his attorney argued that he might lose his job if he stayed in jail.   He has seven previous OWI convictions in five area counties since 1997.    

Prosecutor Susan Donskey says Christianson was driving dangerously, nearly hitting another vehicle.    

A state patrolman came across the burning vehicle in the field, and spoke to Christianson, who said he doesn’t normally drink now, but had consumed several beers before trying to drive to his friend’s house. 

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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