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An early-morning stabbing on Christmas Eve in downtown Portage resulted in one man being transported to Madison by Medflight and another arrested and charged with felony substantial battery and reckless endangerment.

Dakota McGowan, 22, of Waukesha, appeared in Columbia County Circuit Court via video from Columbia County Jail on Thursday for his initial appearance following Sunday’s incident.

Portage police officers were dispatched to an Adams Street residence at around 2:45 a.m. Sunday, following an ambulance call for Christopher Drews, 24, of Portage, who had been stabbed. At the scene a woman said that she had been at Pohlk’s Pub with the man and another woman, when Drews had gotten into a fight, leading to the stabbing.

Drews, who had an open cut about 8 inches long along his thigh, told one officer that another man had tried to “get with” the other woman who was with them and said, “(I) had a couple of words with him and then I was bleeding everywhere.”

After being taken to Divine Savior Healthcare and then to UW Hospital by Medflight, Drews was released with 15 stitches in his thigh and six stitches on his left hand.

Police located the third member of their party who said that “110 percent” it was Drews who was the primary aggressor. She told one officer that her friend’s boyfriend, Drews, had gotten into a fight with McGowan, that McGowan tried to apologize and make peace with him, but that Drews began yelling and swearing at him, pushing their friend into a wall when she tried to get between the two men.

Drews followed McGowan out of the bar, she told officers, where the fight continued near the Market Basket store.

As officers were interviewing witnesses, Columbia County Dispatch alerted them to a call from McGowan to tell them where he was. An officer then met McGowan and another man at an Albert Street home where McGowan said that he had been at Pohlk’s Pub when he saw a woman who he thought may have liked him. The woman’s ex-boyfriend was upset that McGowan was talking to her and he attacked him, pinning McGowan against the wall.

McGowan punched Drews and then pulled out his knife, stabbed him and tried to get away, he told the officer.

“I was afraid I had killed this guy because he attacked me,” said McGowan. “I was scared for my life because I wanted to talk to a girl.”

McGowan agreed to go with police and surrendered the knife, designed to stick out from pinky side of a closed fist, with a reverse-curved blade.

In court, District Attorney Jane Kohlwey did not request cash bond be imposed by Judge W. Andrew Voigt and McGowan, who according to online Wisconsin Court System Records has no prior record outside of a speeding ticket, was released on a $10,000 signature bond with orders of absolute sobriety and no contact with Drews.

If convicted, McGowan faces a maximum sentence of up to 20 years in prison. He is scheduled to next appear in court for a March 23 hearing.

Drews has been cited with misdemeanor counts of disorderly conduct and battery, with an initial appearance scheduled for Jan. 3.