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Man pleads not guilty to DUI

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A Flathead Valley man is accused of an eighth driving while under the influence charge. Earl Dean Eystad, 55, appeared at District Court in Polson on June 24.

Eystad was wearing an orange Flathead County jumpsuit when he entered a plea of not guilty to fourth or subsequent felony DUI in Polson, as he was also being held in the Flathead County Detention Center for what is listed as a parole violation. 

According to court records, on May 16, Lake County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Fernando Venegas received a report of a possible drunk driver in the Woods Bay area. Venegas observed the suspect’s vehicle weaving all over the road and moving 15 mph below the posted speed limit. The officer then conducted a traffic stop and Eystad was identified as the driver. 

Eystad appeared to be intoxicated and smelled of alcohol. Venegas reported that the man had to hold onto his vehicle to maintain his balance and was either unable or unwilling to participate in field sobriety tests or provide a breath test. Venegas also noted in his report that a glass pipe and empty containers of alcohol were on the floorboard of the vehicle. Eystad’s records show seven prior convictions for DUI.

Judge Deborah “Kim” Christopher set a trial date for Feb. 21, 2022. Eystad remains in the Flathead County Detention Center. 

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