November 05, 2013 | 10:06 AMELKHORN — A 71-year-old man who was arrested in August 2012, for what is allegedly his 12th drunken driving offense, is back in the Walworth County jail after he missed a court appearance back in February.
Fred J. Schnedier, Zion, Ill., was arrested in Bloomfield for drunken driving after he went to PFI Fashions, which is north of Genoa City on County Highway B, to use the restroom. Employees called police because they suspected Schneider was drunk and feared he would hurt someone if he continued to drive.
Schneider faces a felony charge of 12th-offense drunken driving. If convicted, he faces up to 7 1/2 years imprisonment and five years of extended supervision. He plead not guilty to the charge Sept. 12, 2012.
Schneider also faces felony and misdemeanor bail jumping charges. If convicted of the felony charge, he faces up to six years imprisonment and $10,000 in fines.
Schneider is currently in custody in the Walworth County jail on a $5,000 cash bond.
According to court records:
When Schneider entered PFI Fashions, he wasn’t wearing a shirt and asked to use the restroom.
Two employees escorted him to the restroom, and when Schneider was in the restroom one of the employees called the Genoa City and Bloomfield police.
While waiting for police, a manager distracted Schneider by showing him shirts and the manager gave Schneider a shirt to wear.
Schneider attempted to pay for the shirt with playing cards he had in his wallet.
When Genoa City Sgt. Mike Sireno arrived, Schneider told him he believed he was in Winthrop Harbor, Ill., which is about 30 miles east of Genoa City.
Schneider became agitated by police questions.
He told police that his girlfriend had driven him to PFI Fashions, and she left in a taxi. However, an employee saw Schneider pull up to the store and exit the vehicle by himself.
Schneider kept moving his head during the horizontal gaze nystagmus test, which is a field test for intoxication. During the test, the driver must follow a pen with his or her eyes without moving his or her head.
When asked not to move his head, Schneider yelled at the officer and stumbled backwards. He then told the officer he wouldn’t take any more tests. Schneider was then arrested.
The first record check police ran showed that Schneider had six prior drunken driving convictions. At the Walworth County jail, another OWI was discovered on his record.
By the time charges were filed, law enforcement found one more drunken driving conviction and he was charged with his ninth-offense.
In January, prosecutors amended the charge to 12th offense drunken driving after three additional convictions were discovered.
After the arrest
After Schneider’s arrest, Judge John Race set a $10,000 bond for his release, which included a $5,000 cash component. Schneider posted a $5,000 cash bond on December 20 and was released. According to online court records, Schneider changed his address with the court but didn’t appear before a judge again.
Before Schneider posted bond, his attorney, Melissa Nepomiachi, filed a motion to reduce his bond. In the motion, Nepomiachi wrote that Schneider is a U.S. Air Force veteran and is receiving treatment four days a week at a VA hospital. Schneider is a U.S. Air Force veteran.
Schneider’s 11 prior convictions are for offenses that occurred March 1, 1991; May 8, 1991; Sept. 14, 1994; Oct. 21, 1994; Jan. 24, 1996; Feb. 4, 1997; Feb. 4, 1998; March 26, 1999; April 2, 1999; Nov. 5, 2000 and March 3, 2001.
Four of the prior convictions were for offenses that occurred in Wisconsin, two are from Illinois and five are from Minnesota.