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Mishawaka Mayor's son charged in suspect DUI a year after being pulled over and let go

Mugshot of Joseph Wood
St. Joseph County Jail
Joseph Wood, 22, after being arrested by South Bend Police on Sept. 23, 2023.

Less than a year after he was pulled over on suspicion of drinking and driving by Mishawaka police, but then taken home with no report, 22-year-old Joseph Wood was arrested Saturday evening by South Bend police.

According to the South Bend Police Department, Wood — who’s the son of Mishawaka Mayor Dave Wood — had rolled over his vehicle in the 900 block of Frances Street and hit two parked cars around 8 p.m. Saturday. On Tuesday, Joseph Wood was formally charged with driving while intoxicated and court documents allege he had a Blood Alcohol Content of .151, nearly double the legal limit.

Wood was taken to the hospital for minor injuries then arrested and taken to the St. Joseph County Jail. No one else was injured in the crash.

Matthew Lentsch, who acts as a spokesman for Mayor Dave Wood, told WVPE neither the mayor nor his son would speak to reporters about the incident. Lentsch did provide a written statement from Dave Wood in which the mayor said he was “disappointed to hear about our adult son’s accident and alleged OWI on Saturday night. We have always put our family as our top priority. Our family is not perfect.”

The statement goes on to say that Joseph is dealing with mental health issues and Mayor Dave Wood thanks the South Bend Police Department for “handling this unfortunate situation independently and completely by the book.”

However questions still remain the handling of a previous traffic stop involving Joe Wood by Mishawaka police back in October of 2022.

In that incident, Joe Wood was pulled over for speeding and turning without using a turn signal by Mishawaka officers. Despite officers saying in body camera footage that Wood appeared to be intoxicated, no one gave the mayor’s son a breathalyzer test. Eventually then-Mishawaka police Capt. Eric Beckham arrived on scene, told other officers to leave and then drove Wood home.

There was no mention of the incident in the Mishawaka Police Department’s daily log and no report was made — a fact which Indiana’s Public Access Counselor found violated state law. Beckham was demoted to Lieutenant, though Mishawaka police have not stated the reason for the demotion. The police department said it’s internal review of the incident concluded “no substantive criminal law was broken or violated.”

Joseph Wood will appear in court in late November.

Marek Mazurek has been with WVPE since April 2023, though he's been in Michiana for most of his life. He has a particular interest in public safety reporting. When he's not on the radio, Marek enjoys getting way too into Notre Dame football and reading about medieval English history.