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Woman spends 25th birthday behind bars, charged with OWI, battery, stealing a vehicle and more

Woman spends 25th birthday behind bars, charged with OWI, battery, stealing a vehicle and more


RACINE — A Racine woman faces 21 criminal charges for the extended events of Sunday which allegedly included a stolen vehicle, assault with a dangerous weapon, drunken driving, trespassing and criminal damage to property.

Crystal M. Benish, of the 1700 block of Edgewood Avenue, turned 25 Tuesday inside the Racine County Jail after being charged in Racine County Circuit Court with: one count of operating a motor vehicle without owner’s consent, a felony; one count of operating a vehicle while under the influence, second offense; one count of misdemeanor battery with a dangerous weapon; criminal damage to property; misdemeanor theft; disorderly conduct; and 14 counts of bail jumping.

According to the criminal complaint:

Benish was observed by a witness, who was waiting at the traffic light at Durand Avenue, driving north along Sheridan Road at an estimated 90 mph. The witness said he saw Bensh’s vehicle strike a pole and continue north along Racine Street.

The offending vehicle did not stop until it reached Racine Street and DeKoven Avenue where the witness said he saw the female driver get out with a liquor bottle under her arm; the car had two flat tires on the driver side.

When an ambulance arrived, the emergency medical technicians reportedly had to grab Benish to get her into the ambulance, and who was yelling and “acting extremely drunk or high,” the complaint states.

The responding officer reportedly smelled the strong odor of intoxicants on Benish’s breath, had her perform field sobriety tests and then conducted a preliminary breath test which showed a 0.257% blood-alcohol concentration, more than triple the legal limit.

She told police she did not recall the accident but did remember taking the vehicle and driving.

The vehicle belonged to another woman whose children said Benish had come into their residence and taken the keys off the kitchen table and then drove away. The children said she appeared intoxicated.

Assault with weapon

The same day, at 1:07 p.m., police responded to an Albert Street residence for a report of an unwanted person and assault, the criminal complaint continues.

When they arrived they found Benish standing on the front porch, naked from the waist up and “screaming uncontrollably” about getting her things from the house where her boyfriend had been staying.

The woman who lived there, and who owned the vehicle Benish had taken, had a large welt on her forehead.

She told police Benish had found a metal pipe on the front porch, bashed and kicked at the door until she got inside and swung the pipe at the victim, striking her in the head. She told police Benish also bit her twice: once on a knuckle and once on her forearm.

The boyfriend Benish had sometimes visited there told police he was ending their relationship after the day’s events.

Benish had been out on bond for prior charges of disorderly conduct in one case and two counts of misdemeanor bail jumping based on positive drug testing while out on bond.

A condition of that bond was not to commit any new crimes. That led to new bail jumping charges.

She has prior convictions for violating a harassment restraining order, three disorderly conduct charges, retail theft and possession of THC.

As of Wednesday afternoon, Benish was being held in the County Jail on a $500 bond. Her preliminary appearance was scheduled for 8:30 a.m. Jan. 16 at the Racine County Law Enforcement Center, 717 Wisconsin Ave.


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Michael "Mick" Burke covers business and the Village of Sturtevant. He is the proud father of two daughters and owner of a fantastic, although rug-chewing, German shepherd dog.

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