WHO-TV Reporter Sonya Heitshusen pleads guilty to OWI charge

WHO-TV Reporter Sonya Heitshusen pleads guilty to OWI charge

A long-time Des Moines television reporter and anchor arrested for drunk driving over the summer has pleaded guilty to the charge, court records show.

Sonya Heitshusen, a WHO-TV reporter, entered a plea agreement for the charge of first-offense operating while intoxicated. The charge, to which she originally entered a not-guilty plea, stemmed from a June 7 incident.

The court agreed to statutory minimums of the charge and waived probation if Heitshusen attends a 48-hour operating while intoxicated course and pays fines, her attorney Colt Moss said Tuesday.

Heitshusen, 47, of Des Moines, was pulled over near downtown Des Moines’ entertainment district around 1 a.m. driving the wrong way down a street, authorities said. Police said she at first refused to exit her vehicle, then had trouble balancing and refused any field sobriety or breath tests.

Heinshusen works as a reporter and anchors the 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. newscasts for Channel 13. She also worked for WOI-TV from 1991 to 2001, left journalism briefly, then returned to work at WHO-TV. She has won five Emmy’s and multiple other awards.

She now faces up to one year in jail and a fine of $1,250. Her sentencing is set for Dec. 15.

A second WHO-TV reporter was arrested for first-offense OWI the same weekend as Heitshusen. Erik Wheater, 25, has since also pleaded guilty.