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Finley receives suspended sentence

A Ronan man was committed to the State Department of Corrections for five years with all that time suspended at District Court in Polson on May 23 following a criminal endangerment conviction.

According to court records, on Nov. 12, 2017 a Flathead Tribal Police Officer was on routine patrol when he observed a vehicle enter U.S. Highway 93 at Terrace Lake Road, swerve across the center line and change lanes without signaling. At that point the officer initiated a traffic stop. Alex Patrick Finley Jr., 34, was identified as the driver. Also in the vehicle were Finley’s six children ages, 10, 9, 7, 5, 3 and 2. Finley admitted to consuming two steele reserves and allegedly showed indications of intoxication on the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test, a test that shows an involuntary jerking of the eyeballs brought on by alcohol consumption. Finley also performed poorly on the walk and turn test and the one leg stand test and refused a preliminary breath test. Finley stated to the officer that the reason he was driving all over the road was because he was letting his 10-year-old child drive. Finley said he swapped spots with the child when their vehicle was pulled over. Finley would later take a breath test at the jail that showed his blood alcohol content at .222, more than double the legal limit.

Finley was initially facing six counts of criminal endangerment but prosecutors agreed to dismiss five of the counts in exchange for his guilty plea. District Judge James Manley noted the positive steps taken by Finley since the charges were filed and the many letters written in his support.

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