A 59-year-old Three Forks man was charged with a second count of driving under the influence of alcohol when he appeared intoxicated in court on an initial appearance for another DUI.
According to court records, the man appeared on the morning of Jan. 15 in Judge Bryan West’s courtroom at the Gallatin County Law & Justice Center. The court asked a sheriff’s deputy to come to the courtroom with a portable breath test machine. The man provided a breath sample, which measured .133 percent, and said he was surprised at the results. When asked, he told the deputy he had not had anything to drink that morning, though he said he had consumed five beers the night before. The deputy asked if he had driven to court that morning, and the man said he had not. The deputy could smell the odor of alcohol on the man’s breath.
After Judge West heard the results of the breath test, he ordered the deputy to place the man in custody for contempt of court. As they were walking to the detention center, the deputy again asked him how he had come to the Law & Justice Center that morning. He said a friend had brought him, and when the deputy asked for the friend’s phone number so that she could verify his story, the man said the number was in his phone. The deputy gave the man the phone, after which she discovered he sent a message asking the intended recipient to “tell police you gave me a ride here.” The deputy confiscated the phone.
While being booked into the jail, the man voluntarily provided a second breath sample that measured .101 percent breath alcohol content. Jail staff removed car keys from the man’s front pocket.
Upon further questioning, the man told the deputy he had five or six beers the night before at a Three Forks bar, then drove to Bozeman, where he purchased more beer at the gas station on the corner. He said he parked his truck on a side street, drank the beer, and slept in the truck because he had never been to the Law & Justice Center, so he didn’t want to be late.
The deputy found the man’s truck parked on Dickerson Street near Security Title, and observed that there was no snow on it even thought it had snowed a little overnight. The deputy looked through the windows and did not see any beer cans inside. The deputy also checked the tire tracks, which indicated that the man had parked behind another car after it already was parked. The deputy located the owner of that car, who said she had arrived at work around 8 a.m., and that there hadn’t been any other vehicles on the street when she parked there. A security guard at the Law & Justice Center said the man had entered the building at 8:04 a.m., leading the deputy to believe he had parked his truck on Dickerson between 8 and 8:04 a.m.
The deputy questioned the man further. Court documents state that at first he said he was parked in “the neighborhood across the way” before driving to the Dickerson location, but later admitted that he had driven the truck from Three Forks that morning. He told the deputy he drank a beer after he parked his truck and dropped the can in the trash before entering the building. No can was found when the deputy went through the trash can.
The man was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol and held on $685 bond.
A Three Forks man was charged with his fifth DUI, a felony, after authorities received a report of an SUV “swerving violently” on Interstate 90 late Friday night.
According to court documents, a Gallatin County Sheriff’s deputy and Manhattan Police officer responded to the report shortly after 11 p.m. on Jan. 17. The caller said a westbound, dark-colored sport utility vehicle was swerving on the road and had nearly driven off the roadway several times near the Manhattan/Amsterdam exit. The callers activated their own vehicle’s emergency flashers and were following the SUV at a reported 55 mph in an 80 mph zone.
The deputy pulled into the center median of I-90, then saw an SUV matching the description, followed by a vehicle with its flashers on. The deputy pulled onto the road behind the SUV – a Jeep Liberty – and began to follow it with the patrol car’s dashboard camera activated.
While following the Jeep, the deputy saw its driver cross the centerline multiple times and drift back over to the fog line without ever activating a turn signal. When another vehicle began approaching the patrol car in the passing lane, the deputy feared the driver of the Jeep might cross the centerline as the approaching car attempted to pass, so he activated the patrol car’s emergency lights. The driver of the Jeep, Roger Clayton Blossom, 58, pulled off at the Logan interchange, and stopped in the middle of the roadway at the bottom of the exit. Court documents state that the deputy noticed a strong odor of alcoholic beverage coming from inside the car, and that Blossom was moving slowly and his eyes were bloodshot. The deputy noted that Blossom was unable to divide his attention when asked for his driver’s license, registration and proof of insurance.
After Blossom performed poorly on field sobriety tests, he declined to provide a breath sample, saying that he had been drinking that day and that the reading would be over the legal limit; however, he voluntarily provided a blood sample at the hospital in Bozeman.
Blossom was transported to the Gallatin County Detention Center, where it was discovered he had four prior DUI convictions. He was charged with his fifth offense of driving under the influence of alcohol and held without bond.
A 65-year-old Belgrade man was charged with his fourth DUI, a felony, early Sunday morning.
According to court document, a caller alerted authorities that he had followed a suspected drunk driver from Dry Creek Road to the Four Corners Fishing Access. While en route, a Gallatin County Sheriff’s deputy spoke to the caller, who told the deputy he had taken the keys from the driver after the man told him he had consumed alcohol prior to their interaction. The caller told the officer that the man seemed disoriented, and that his speech was slurred.
When the deputy arrived, he identified the suspected drunk driver as Randall Wade Ellerton. He noted that Ellerton was having difficult maintaining his balance, his breath smelled strongly of alcohol, his eyes were bloodshot, and his speech was slurred. Ellerton refused to perform field sobriety tests, telling the officer he would not be able to do them in his condition. According to the reported, Ellerton admitted to drinking alcohol and state numerous times that he was intoxicated.
Ellerton agreed to provide a breath sample, which measured .097 breath alcohol content. He was taken to Bozeman Health, where he voluntarily provided a blood sample for analysis.
Documents state that Ellerton had three prior DUI convictions in 1995, 1997 and 2002. He was taken to the Gallatin County Detention Center, where he was charged with his fourth offense, a felony, and held without bond.
A Manhattan man who called 911 early Wednesday morning to say he had been “kidnapped while intoxicated” was charged with driving under the influence after he agreed to meet sheriff’s deputies at the Thriftway in Manhattan.
According to police reports, dispatchers sent officers to an address on Kirsha Lane in Bozeman in response to a 911 hang-up call. Dispatchers said a man had called from there to report that he had been kidnapped and was in someone’s pickup truck. The man hung up, and did not answer return calls from the dispatch center.
A short time later, a Gallatin County Sheriff’s deputy called the phone number again, and a man answered. He told the deputy he was driving to Manhattan, and agreed to meet deputies at the Thriftway. A Manhattan police officer met the 24-year-old man there, and was shortly thereafter joined by the deputy who had spoken to the man on the phone.
The man was moving slowly, had red and watery eyes, and smelled strongly of alcoholic beverage. With thick and slow speech, he told the deputy he had consumed “one beer” while at a meeting with his construction company several hours before. He appeared confused when the deputy mentioned speaking to him earlier on the phone, and he said he had not called 911.
After performing unsatisfactorily on field sobriety tests, he provided a preliminary breath sample that measured .159 breath alcohol content. He was transported to the Gallatin County Detention Center, where he provided a second breath sample that measured .147 percent. He was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol, first offense, and held on $685 bond.