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Concerned citizen gets alleged drunk driver off road

by SCOTT SHINDLEDECKER
The Western News | September 23, 2022 7:00 AM

A Lincoln County citizen helped get an alleged drunk driver off the road during an incident near Rexford.

Kelly Patrick Fitzgerald, 62, appeared in Lincoln County District Court on Sept. 12 and pleaded not guilty to criminal endangerment and DUI, fourth offense, both felonies.

Fitzgerald, who was released, must wear an electronic monitoring device that determines if he is using alcohol. He is scheduled to return to court on Nov. 28 for an omnibus hearing.

According to the probable cause statement by Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Bo Pitman, at about 11 a.m. on Aug. 27, the citizen called 911 to report he was following a car that was driving all over the road on Montana 37 near the Tobacco River Bridge. He called back a short time later and said the car ran someone off the road near the Rexford turnoff and he conducted a pit maneuver to get the car off the road. The man also said he was holding the driver at gunpoint.

Pittman said when he arrived, he saw Fitzgerald slumped over in the driver’s seat and could not have any sort of intelligent conversation with him, according to the court document. Pittman also wrote that Fitzgerald was unable to get out of the car without the officer’s help.

After placing Fitzgerald in the back seat of his patrol vehicle, Pittman spoke to the driver who called 911 and got the car off the road. The man said Fitzgerald allegedly crossed both the fog line and center lane multiple times. He said he felt he had no other choice than to force the car off the road to keep Fitzgerald from killing someone.

Pittman said he also interviewed the driver of a second vehicle that followed Fitzgerald as well as the driver of the vehicle that was ran off the road.

Fitzgerald allegedly agreed to blood draw and said he suffered from cerebral palsy and diabetes.

Pittman also said he learned that Fitzgerald was arrested recently by the Eureka Police Department for DUI.

Conviction for criminal endangerment may result in a maximum term of 10 years in the Montana State Prison. For conviction on the DUI charge the maximum penalty is two years in a state Department of Corrections facility, suspension of driving privileges for one year and forfeiture of each vehicle owned by the defendant at the time of the offense.