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Madison police say driver who mounted Capitol steps was just intoxicated

Madison police say driver who mounted Capitol steps was just intoxicated


With the state Capitol under tight security, police arrested a 44-year-old Madison man on traffic offenses after he drove his vehicle up the stairs on the grounds Saturday night.

Willie Burks drove up the exterior steps on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and around the exterior of the statehouse just before 9:30 p.m., according to Madison police, who said the incident did not appear politically motivated.

Burks then left the capitol grounds, driving against traffic, before parking his vehicle, according to police.

Officers arrested him on suspicion of third-offense driving while intoxicated, reckless driving, operating with a suspended license, driving against traffic and driving on a sidewalk. Burks was being held in the Dane County jail Sunday pending a court appearance.

Lt. David Jugovich said there was no indication of a threat to the Capitol, which has been under heightened security since the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol and remains under guard by state and local police as well as a National Guard contingent.

Madison police said last week they are preparing to respond to potential unrest, though there have been no "direct threats" identified. An anti-fascist demonstration that had been scheduled to take place Sunday on the square is now expected to take place Monday at a different location. 

The FBI has warned of plans for armed protests at all 50 state capitols and in Washington, D.C., in the days leading up to the inauguration.

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