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Woman Bitten By Bear Was Drunk

MANITOWOC, Wis. - The woman whose fingers were bitten off by an Asiatic black bear at Lincoln Park Zoo on March 5 had a blood-alcohol content that was twice the legal limit, Manitowoc Police Capt. Scott Luchterhand said Thursday.

Tracy Weiler, 47, of Manitowoc had a BAC of 0.16 percent, two times the legal limit of 0.08 percent. Luchterhand said Weiler was tested several hours after the incident.

Weiler's boyfriend, Lawrence Bosworth, 51, of Manitowoc tested at a 0.26 percent BAC, more than three times the legal limit. Bosworth was tested almost immediately after the incident, Luchterhand said.

Police cited both Weiler and Bosworth for violating park rules, including having alcohol within the zoo, feeding animals and crossing safety barriers. Each will pay a $681 fine, Luchterhand said. Video surveillance also showed that Weiler and Bosworth arrived at the zoo in a vehicle.

Weiler reportedly went past barriers around the cage of the zoo's two black bears and tried to feed one through the fence. The bear bit off Weiler's thumb and forefinger as well as parts of her middle and ring fingers.

The bear bit Bosworth when he tried to pry its mouth off Weiler's hand but he didn't lose any fingers. Weiler's 3-year-old granddaughter was with Weiler and Bosworth at the time.

The police department could have issued a separate citation for each violation but Luchterhand said police took the physical trauma of the situation "into high consideration."

"We believe she (Weiler) already has a serious injury as a consequence," Luchterhand said. "We thought it was an experience they would learn a lifelong lesson from."

The Manitowoc County Sheriff's Department took Bosworth into custody Thursday morning after failing to report to his probation agent Monday. Bosworth's probation terms required that he maintain sobriety. He was on probation for battery and disorderly conduct, Luchterhand said.

Wisconsin Court records show Milwaukee County is currently charging Bosworth with a second offense for operating a vehicle while intoxicated, a second offense for operating a vehicle with a BAC of 0.08 percent or more and operating a vehicle after license revocation.

Records also show he has been convicted in the past for operating a vehicle under the influence, disorderly conduct, battery, bail jumping and dispensing prescription drugs without a prescription.

Weiler was released late Wednesday afternoon from Theda Clark Medical Center in Neenah, spokeswoman Megan Wilcox said.

Wilcox said she could not comment on what doctors were able to do for Weiler's hand. Weiler has declined to do any interviews or let the hospital release more information.

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