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Suspended sentence revoked for man accused of drunk driving

by DERRICK PERKINS
Daily Inter Lake | February 8, 2022 7:00 AM

A local man that police say rolled his vehicle while intoxicated in December saw his suspended sentence on a previous drunk driving charge revoked in district court late last month.

Jason M. Fettig, 41, will spend the next three years in the care of the state Department of Corrections and placed in the Warm Springs Addiction, Treatment and Change program. He will receive credit for 260 days of street time.

Prosecutors sought the revocation after police officers in Libby arrested Fettig while investigating a crash on Education Way on Dec. 23. In an affidavit, Sgt. Chris Pape wrote that Fettig arrived on scene soon after officers and claimed ownership of the disabled truck.

Pape reported that Fettig’s eyes were glassy and bloodshot; he spoke deliberately and with slurred speech, and had difficulty maintaining balance. Fettig admitted at the scene to being under probation for a previous driving under the influence conviction.

Still, Fettig denied being drunk behind the wheel of the pickup truck when it rolled, Pape wrote. Pressed about his intoxication, Fettig allegedly said he starting drinking after the wreck. According to court documents, Fettig recounted exiting the truck, grabbing a bottle of alcohol and going home to drink before returning to retrieve the vehicle.

Pape wrote that Fettig produced a bottle of cinnamon whiskey at the scene and took a swig in front of officers.

As they talked, Pape learned from dispatchers that Fettig’s license was revoked and his vehicle lacked the required ignition interlock. Fettig admitted to lacking a valid driver’s license, court documents said.

A preliminary breath test came back with a blood alcohol concentration of .238, according to Pape. That level made him suspicious of Fettig’s story.

“Due to his BAC of 0.238 and the short amount of time that passed from the time of the crash to the time I made contact with him, I do believe that Fettig was operating the vehicle while he was under the influence of alcohol,” Pape wrote in the affidavit.

As a result, Fettig faces charges of driving under the influence, fifth or subsequent offense, or operating a noncommercial motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration of more than .08, in the alternative. He also faces misdemeanor charges of operating a vehicle without an ignition interlock and driving with a suspended or revoked license.

Fettig pleaded not guilty to those charges on Jan. 10.

That same day, he made his first appearance in court for the revocation. Prosecutors accused him of violating the terms of his suspended sentence by failing to comply with laws and consuming alcohol.

Fettig, who earned previous drunk driving convictions in 2001, 2002, 2003 and 2020, is due back in court on the new charges in April for an omnibus hearing. A pretrial conference has been scheduled for May.