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Lake County District Court news for Jan. 28, 2010

Judge Deborah K. Christopher dealt with the following cases on Jan. 21:

Craig Baird Feistner, 60, of Polson, pleaded guilty to felony driving under the influence, fourth or subsequent offense. He was found guilty and sentencing is set for Thursday, Feb. 25 at 9 a.m.

According to court records, the charge stems from a Nov. 30 incident when a woman called 911 on suspicion of a drunk driver. She stated that the driver was all over the road and while speaking with dispatch, had hit the curb alongside the road and was drifting into the opposite lane of traffic. The vehicle was observed turning off of U.S. Hwy. 93 onto Bayshore Drive.

A Polson Police Officer located the vehicle, facing north in the southbound lane with its headlights and brake lights on.

The driver, identified as Feistner, was unconscious in the driver’s seat. The vehicle was running and in gear. After several knocks on the window, Feistner woke up. He fumbled with the vehicle controls, put the vehicle in park and opened the door. The officer could smell the odor of an alcoholic beverage and observed a beer bottle in the passenger’s seat.

When speaking with Feistner, the officer noticed that his speech was slurred, and his eyes were bloodshot and glassy. He also was unsteady on his feet when stepping out of the vehicle. He was then arrested and during booking at the jail, agreed to take a breath test, but refused to blow into the instrument. He refused to follow the pen with his eyes during the HGN and scored a total of 6 points on the walk and turn test, indicating that he was impaired. He was unable to perform the one leg stand test. Feistner’s driving history showed that he had three prior DUI convictions.

Louis Ted Caye, 39, of Polson, pleaded not guilty to felony burglary and misdemeanor criminal trespassing to property.

An omnibus hearing is set for Thursday, Feb. 11 at 9 a.m.

According to court records, the charges stem from a Jan. 5 incident when a call was made to report a male inside of a liquor store causing a disturbance.

A Polson Police Officer arrived and noticed that Caye was outside of the store talking to a female parked in a truck. While speaking with Caye, the officer noticed a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage coming from his breath. He was then detained in the back of his patrol car. The male who called in the report told the officer that Caye had come into the store about an hour and a half earlier with a female, they had a few drinks and then Caye became belligerent and threatened to take the female outside and break her jaw.

The female then left and Caye remained inside the store and became more disruptive. He ordered another drink, and refused to pay for it and was abusive and threatening toward the male who made the call and at one point, punched him in the chest.

Judge C.B. McNeil dealt with the following cases on Jan. 20:

Rebecca Jewel Seiler, 47, of Arlee, pleaded guilty to felony obstructing justice, she was found guilty and committed to the Department of Corrections for five years, with all suspended and fined $1,260.

According to court records, the charge stems from an incident on Jan. 9 when Seiler knowingly prevented law enforcement from performing an act that might aid in the discovery of an offender, by telling law enforcement that the offender, Gene Statczar who was charged with a felony, had passed away.

Brandon Dean Bockus, 30, of Ronan, pleaded guilty to the amended offense of misdemeanor driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs - second offense, felony criminal endangerment, misdemeanors driving while license is suspended or revoked and operating a vehicle without liability insurance in effect. 

He was found guilty of all offenses and for driving under the influence, he was sentenced to six months in jail with all suspended but 14 days, fined $2,200 and charged $85 on each count. For criminal endangerment, he received a deferred sentence of three years and was fined $100 and charged $60 on each count. For driving with a suspended license, he was sentenced to six months in jail with all suspended but five days and for driving without liability, he was sentenced to one year in jail with all suspended but two days and was fined $85 on each count. The sentencing is to run concurrently.

According to court records, on April 6 at 1:26 a.m., a Flathead Tribal Officer located a vehicle that was reported on radio traffic to be a vehicle possibly being driven by someone under the influence of alcohol.

The vehicle was located on U.S. Highway 93, east of Post Creek Hill going southbound. Bockus was sited going 67 mph and swerved into the officer’s lane, approximately 100 yards from his vehicle. The officer had to slam on his brakes in order to avoid impact, speed was noted at 63 mph as the officer steered onto the shoulder of the road. The vehicle then approached within 20 feet of the patrol, swerved into the northbound lane, just missing the patrol car by approximately four feet.

The officer turned his patrol vehicle around and pursued the vehicle, pulling him over just north of McDonald Lake Rd. The officer noted a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage coming from the driver’s breath, identified as Bocus.

Tribal Dispatch indicated that Bockus had three prior DUI convictions and his license was revoked out of Great Falls. He was not an enrolled member, so a Lake County Sheriff’s Deputy was then called to investigate.

The deputy noticed that his speech was slurred and slow and he also had difficulty with his balance while walking to the deputy’s patrol car. The deputy noticed Bockus had vomit on his shirt and pants.

Bockus admitted to having two beers, but after being asked again after some field sobriety tests, he admitted to having three 12-ounce beers while driving. Bockus performed poorly on three additional sobriety tests and refused a breath test.

Matthew Tyler Rardin, 25, of St. Ignatius, pleaded guilty to felony criminal possession of dangerous drugs and misdemeanor obstructing a peace officer. He was committed to the DOC for five years with three years suspended for criminal possession. For obstructing a peace officer, he was sentenced to six months in jail with all suspended.

According to court records, on Aug. 17, a Lake County Sheriff’s Deputy and a Flathead Tribal Police Officer responded to a noise complaint in St. Ignatius at a residence.

Rardin met the officers outside and admitted to along with a group of males, being loud earlier. Rardin’s probation officer was contacted and recommended that Rardin be arrested and administered a breath test. Upon being escorted to the patrol car, Rardin tried to communicate to another person being placed under arrest and the officers suspected that someone or something inside the home was trying to be hidden from the officers.

Upon searching the residence, the officers found a small wooden box containing a bag of marijuana, 14 tablets of methadone, and 8 tablets of clonazepam. Also, a digital scale and 22 tables diazepam were found.

Keith B. Cowen, 19, of Blain Wash., pleaded guilty to felony possession of explosives and according to the plea agreement, misdemeanor criminal mischief was dismissed. He received deferred sentence for three years, was ordered to serve 30 days in jail, and was fined $435.

According to court records, there were several calls made to Lake County Dispatch on Aug. 27, 2009 regarding explosions along Terrace Lake Road, east of Ronan. A witness followed an SUV with no doors and got a license plate number off the vehicle. Law enforcement officers later located the vehicle at a Ronan home and conducted interviews with the occupants, including Cowen, who admitted to lighting sparkler bombs and placing them in mailboxes.

A Lake County Sheriff’s Deputy confirmed that two mailboxes were destroyed by explosives, which were strong enough to send debris more than 150 feet from the blast site.

Joseph Sparks, 19, of Bain, Wash., pleaded guilty to felony possession of explosives and according to the plea agreement, misdemeanor criminal mischief was dismissed. He received deferred sentence for three years, ordered to serve 30 days in jail, and was fined $435. According to the plea agreement, jail time will be suspended if Sparks attains his GED with in six months.

According to court records, the charges were stemmed from an incident on Aug. 27, 2009 when there were several calls made to Lake County Dispatch regarding explosions along Terrace Lake Road, east of Ronan. A witness followed an SUV with no doors and got a license plate number of the vehicle. Law enforcement officers later located the vehicle at a Ronan home and conducted interviews with the occupants, including Sparks, who admitted to stopping next to the mailboxes which were planned to blow up using sparker bombs.

A Lake County Sheriff’s Deputy confirmed that two mailboxes were destroyed by explosives, which were strong enough to send debris more than 150 feet from the blast site.

Michael Ernest Stevens, 53, of St. Ignatius, had his sentence of felony driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs - fourth or subsequent offense, revoked and was committed to the DOC for two years.

Stevens admitted to violating his parole by consuming alcohol on Jan. 5 and driving.

In January of 2004, Stevens appeared before Judge C.B. McNeil for felony driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs - fourth or subsequent offense and was sentenced to the DOC to be placed in an appropriate correctional facility for a term of 13 months, and placed under the DOC on formal probation for five years.

He was placed under the WATCh Program and was later discharged due to aggressive behavior in April of that year and was then sent to the Montana State Prison.

In Jan of 2005, he was discharged and served the suspended portion of his sentence. In July of 2006, he had his sentence revoked and was committed to the DOC for five years with two years suspended. In June of 2007, he received a conditional release, which was later revoked. In March of 2008 he completed the WATCH program and was granted conditional release. In May of 2008, release was revoked. On Feb. 25, 2009, he completed the program at the Bozeman Pre-Release center and was granted conditional release. On June, 23, 2009, his prison term expired and he began serving the suspended portion of his sentence.

According to court records, the DUI charge stems from an incident on Sept. 28, 2003 when Flathead Tribal Police Officer observed a small green pickup traveling north on U.S. Hwy. 93 that crossed the center line completely into the northbound lane.

Once pulled over, the officer noticed the strong odor of an alcoholic beverage coming from Stevens. He admitted that he had been drinking, but refused all standardized field sobriety testing. He did provide a breath sample with indicated a BAC of .275%

Stevens was then transported to the jail for DUI processing. He further refused all field sobriety testing but admitted to drinking a quart of vodka since the previous night.

 

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