A 59-year-old Victor woman faces three counts of felony endangerment after allegedly nearly causing three wrecks on U.S. Highway 93 while driving drunk.
Monica Ann Etminan-Rad appeared Thursday before Ravalli County Justice Jennifer Ray on the felony charges and a misdemeanor count of driving under the influence.
According to the charging affidavit, a Montana Highway Patrol officer was dispatched to Highway 93 following a report of a vehicle driving erratically near the Parts Unlimited business.
The trooper spotted a BMW SUV traveling in the center turn lane with its hazard lights on.
After pulling in behind the vehicle, the trooper attempted to get the driver to pull over. It continued northbound. The trooper saw the vehicle swerve through the turn lane and partially cross into the southbound lane.
The trooper had his emergency lights and siren on, but the driver failed to yield and continued down the center turn lane.
After about a mile, the BMW swerved across both northbound lanes and stopped on the shoulder near the intersection of Pine Drive, the affidavit said.
By this time there were two troopers on the scene.
When they made contact with Etminan-Rad, she appeared to be talking on the phone and oblivious to their presence.
As the troopers approached the vehicle, it began to roll forward. They instructed the woman to put the vehicle in park.
Etminan-Rad was identified as the driver, but the affidavit said she “seemed oblivious to any of the circumstances.”
When one of the troopers helped the woman from the vehicle, he noticed she was very unstable as she walked and appeared confused.
He asked if she had consumed any alcohol. The affidavit said she reported that she had taken three Lorazepam pills and a shot of pineapple vodka in the parking lot of the Victor Liquor Store.
When Etminan-Rad was asked to do the walk and turn test, she stumbled and needed assistance to keep from falling down, the affidavit said. The trooper didn’t ask her to try the one-leg stand test.
Etminan-Rad refused to provide a breath or blood sample.
Following the woman’s arrest, the trooper interviewed the motorist who made the initial call. He and a passenger told the trooper Etminan-Rad had nearly sideswiped his vehicle.
They said Etminan-Rad had driven in the center lane for a lengthy period and came close to hitting two southbound vehicles head-on.
Ray set bail at $2,500 and required Etminan-Rad to be fitted with an alcohol and drug monitoring patch if released from the detention center.
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