A Waupaca man allegedly drove past traffic officers and barricades into South Park during the triathlon Saturday, Aug. 21.
One cyclist reported being struck by the vehicle, but not injured.
Steven L. Forrest, 44, Waupaca, was charged Monday with second-degree reckless endangerment, a third drunken driving offense and possession of drug paraphernalia.
According to Detective Sgt. Brian Hoelzel, police were called to the park shortly before 9 a.m. Saturday.
A small white vehicle had driven past a reserve county deputy stationed on Lakeside Parkway near U.S. Highway 10, then past two volunteers with orange flags at the recycling center, then into South Park, where the entrance had been blocked off with orange fencing.
Witnesses say the vehicle made its way under an arch used by the athletes as they were leaving the park to begin the running course. It then drove through the parking lot where the more than 1,000 participants made the transition between each of the three events and where the bicycles were stationed.
The car drove past pedestrians and barricades out of the park onto Junction Street and over a curb to go north on Main Street, according to the criminal complaint.
Witnesses provided police with a description of the vehicle and a license plate number. Hoelzel traced the plate to a vehicle owned by Forrest.
Waupaca police began searching for the vehicle and for Forrest.
At approximately 1 p.m., Waupaca Police Officer Lisa Benitez located the vehicle parked outside Club 22 on Waupaca’s west side. Forrest was sitting at the bar.
The bartender reportedly told Benitez that Forrest arrived at approximately 10 a.m. and she took his keys away because he appeared intoxicated.
A preliminary breath test indicated that Forrest had a 0.222 blood-alcohol level at the time of his arrest, according to the criminal complaint.
Forrest was convicted of drunken driving offenses in March 2000 and July 2004. He faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted of reckless endangerment.