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Sun, Dec 21, 2008

Wagstaff Has Her Day In Court On DUI Charge

Fined For First-Time DUI, Resisting An Officer

Aerobatic pilot Patty Wagstaff appeared in a Wisconsin court Friday to face charges stemming from a July 31 incident at Wittman Regional Airport during last summer's AirVenture.

Wagstaff, 57, pleaded no contest to first-offense drunken driving and a misdemeanor charge of resisting an officer. A related charge of refusing to submit to breathalyzer and blood-alcohol tests was dropped as part of a plea bargain.

Winnebago County Assistant District Attorney Adam Levin told the court that after her arrest, Wagstaff was verbally abusive to law enforcement, hospital and jail staff, using profanity, calling the officers "pigs" and saying they "did not know who they were dealing with."

"This was an unpleasant display of somebody thinking they were more special than others," Levin said, and recommended the court fine Wagstaff $1,300 and impose a nine-month suspension of her driving privileges.

Defense Attorney Michael Lim argued that allegations of abusive language and the police reports in general had been exaggerated. Lim requested the court set the fine at $225 with a six month license revocation, reported the Oshkosh Northwestern.

Winnebago County Circuit Court Judge Barbara Key sentenced Wagstaff to pay $500 in fines plus court costs, and revoked her driver's license for eight months. "This isn't something atypical that police have to deal with," Key said. "And I don't think the defendant should pay anything more because of who she is or anything less either."

As ANN reported, Wagstaff had the altercation at AirVenture 2008 while attempting to get back from the "Gathering of Eagles" dinner, en route to the nearby Hilton, using interior airport access. Wagstaff was reportedly among a group of at least three other persons, and apparently got off-kilter on the grounds of Wittman Field. Her vehicle got the rapt attention of Oshkosh airport/airshow security, and the situation went downhill from there.

Wagstaff freely admitted that she was "in the wrong place at the wrong time" and horribly embarrassed at what transpired. Security "busted" her for being in an unauthorized area on the airport grounds, and the matter escalated into an "uncomfortable" situation which required the attention of the Winnebago County Sheriff to resolve.

Wagstaff had no comment on Friday's outcome, but said that the EAA has invited her back to Oshkosh to perform at AirVenture 2009.

FMI: www.airventure.org, www.pattywagstaff.com, http://wcca.wicourts.gov

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