A Missoula man who allegedly told the state trooper who stopped him Tuesday that he was “not going to do your DUI games” faces a felony charge of driving under the influence.
Dennis Sean Finnegan, 43, appeared Wednesday in Missoula County Justice Court.
County Attorney Shawn Thomas told Justice of the Peace Karen Orzech that in addition to three previous DUI convictions, Finnegan has eight convictions for driving while his license is suspended and seven for driving without insurance.
“Eight?” interjected Orzech. “Not ‘a?’ ”
“Eight,” Thomas repeated.
Finnegan now faces a new charge on each of those counts, as well as a speeding charge, all misdemeanors. Orzech set bail at $100,000.
A Montana Highway Patrol trooper stopped Finnegan for speeding at about 7:37 p.m. Tuesday on Highway 10 West near the Reserve Street overpass, according to an affidavit filed by Deputy Missoula County Attorney Patricia Bower.
However, Finnegan first led the trooper through a couple of turns before stopping, even though the law enforcement officer hit his emergency lights, then his siren and finally used his public address system to tell him to stop, Bower’s affidavit said.
The two allegedly had a long conversation about whether Finnegan had a wallet (he said he didn’t, but he eventually pulled one out), whether he had insurance or registration (again, he gave contradictory answers), where he’d been (getting something to eat, but he was unclear as to where) and whether he’d had something to drink – he said two or three beers, according to the affidavit.
The trooper reported there were two empty Crown Royal bags on the floor of the car near Finnegan’s feet. When Finnegan finally got out of the car, he refused to perform any field sobriety tests, saying that he was “not going to play, not going to do your DUI games,” the affidavit said.
The trooper reported Finnegan “reeked” of alcohol. Eventually, he took Finnegan to St. Patrick Hospital for a blood test after Missoula County Municipal Judge Marie Andersen issued a search warrant for the blood test.
A felony DUI charge carries a maximum penalty of 13 months in prison and five years suspended, and a fine of between $1,000 and $10,000.
Reporter Gwen Florio can be reached at 523-5268, email@example.com, or @CopsAndCourts on Twitter.