Police: Driver, passenger seen passed out, driving with flat tires switch seats; both face OWI charge

Nicole Carpenter and Dean Mickelson
Carpenter, Mickelson

MADISON, Wis. — A driver and passenger who were seen unconscious in a vehicle Thursday morning on Madison’s north side are both facing impaired driving charges, police said.

The Madison Police Department said a concerned driver spotted at 6:15 a.m. saw an unconscious man in the driver’s seat of a car that was stopped in the road on International Lane at Anderson Street. The 54-year-old witness told police he also saw an unconscious woman in the passenger seat.

The witness drove around the car to make a delivery, then he drove past it again several minutes later. According to the report, the occupants were still not moving, although the car they were in was running.

The report said the witness called 911, and as he did, the man awakened and began driving, jumping a median on International Lane, causing two tires to go flat. Police said the suspect was driving against traffic, which caused oncoming motorists to make evasive maneuvers to avoid collisions.

The witness, who was driving in the proper lane, continued to provide 911 with updates, police said. He told authorities that the car pulled into a parking lot, and the woman got out of the passenger seat, staggered toward the driver’s seat, and the man became the passenger.

The witness stayed behind the car at a safe distance as it took off again, swerving in and out of a traffic lane as it headed outbound on Packers Avenue, according to the report.

At that point, police were behind the car and an officer conducted a traffic stop.

Police said the woman, 31-year-old Nicole L. Carpenter, of Baraboo, told an officer she didn’t know she had flat tires and that she and her now-passenger, 41-year-old Dean J. Mickelson, of Baraboo, were on their way back to Baraboo.

Carpenter was tentatively charged with operating while impaired and a probation violation. Mickelson was arrested on suspicion of operating while impaired and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Both were taken to the Dane County Jail.