/ Articles / Gooch’s fire suspect refusal ‘reasonable,’ convicted of OWI, reckless driving

Gooch’s fire suspect refusal ‘reasonable,’ convicted of OWI, reckless driving

December 20, 2019 by Abigail Bostwick

A man’s reckless driving that led to a fire at Gooch’s A One Tavern in Boulder Junction this past summer has been convicted of the charge as well as operating while intoxicated.

Connor Cavanaugh, 21, Orland Park, Ill., refused police-ordered alcohol testing the August night he was arrested when Gooch’s burned to the ground. Before Vilas County Circuit Judge Neal Nielsen on Tuesday morning, represented by Eagle River Attorney Steve Lucarelli, Cavanaugh pled no contest and was found guilty of reckless driving/endanger safety as well as the traffic citation of first offense operating while intoxicated. 

Nielsen found Cavanaugh’s refusal to take the alcohol tests “reasonable” and dismissed that charge. Also dismissed was a traffic citation of first offense operating with a prohibited blood alcohol level. 

Cavanaugh must pay a $389.50 fine for the reckless driving count. For the OWI, he has been fined $1,055 with his driver’s license revoked for eight months. He also must undergo an alcohol and drug assessment and driver safety plan. 

The case originally had been set for a spring six-person jury trial. 

Gooch’s A One Tavern started on fire the evening of Aug. 11. The incident was reported via 911, indicating a car hit a power pole there just after 1 a.m. When firefighters arrived, the structure was fully engulfed in flames, despite several fire stations responding. Cavanaugh, the driver, and his friends were reportedly doing burnouts in the parking lot when they hit the pole, court reports indicate. 


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