27 year-old Michael Richardson appeared in Missoula Justice Court charged with felony criminal endangerment and misdemeanor aggravated DUI after allegedly driving drunk and crashing head-on into a vehicle injuring three passengers.

Deputy County Attorney Caitlin Williams described the charges to substitute Justice of the Peace Paul Ryan, asking for bond to be set at $10,000.

“This defendant provided a blood alcohol sample of .284 after a head on crash into a Chevy Trail Blazer after he had struck a guard rail and crossed the center line on U.S. Highway 83,” said Williams. “He admitted to drinking, being drunk and said that he shouldn’t have been driving. The state does not yet have his criminal history, but feels that given the nature of the offense that bond is warranted.”

Court documents state that on September 24, Montana Highway Patrol Trooper Panas was dispatched to a head-on collision on MT83 near mile marker 4.  His investigation revealed that Michael Richardson was driving a Ford pickup and crossed the centerline and crashed head on into a Chevy Trailblazer carrying three occupants. The speed limit in the area of the crash was 55 miles per hour, resulting in a possible 110 mile per hour crash, putting the occupants of the Trailblazer at risk of serious bodily injury or death.

Richardson was exhibiting multiple indicators of impairment including slurred speech, watery bloodshot eyes, swaying, stumbling, and a strong odor of alcohol on his breath.  He attempted to use a road flare to light the back seat of the patrol car on fire for fresh air. Trooper Panas conducted field sobriety tests.  Richardson exhibited six of six clues on the HGN, six of eight clues on the walk and turn, and three of four on the one-leg stand.  Richardson provided a preliminary breath test of .284.  Richardson admitted drinking and said he knew he was drunk and should not have been driving. 

Due to the fact that the defendant could provide no physical address, Judge Ryan increased the bail amount to $50,000, to ensure that he would not flee the jurisdiction.

His preliminary hearing was set for October 4.

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