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From the courts: District Court

Box Elder man sentenced for drunk driving and crashing


A Box Elder man received four years probation for drunkenly crashing into another vehicle.

John LaSalle, born in 1948, received Monday in District Court in Havre four years, all suspended, with the Department of Corrections, with credit for ’8 days. LaSalle’s sentence was part of a plea deal that dismissed a felony charge of driving under the influence, fourth or subsequent offense.

A Montana Highway Patrol trooper responded Nov. 2, 2016, to a report of a two-vehicle crash at Seventh Avenue and Second Street in Havre.

A Havre officer, who was at the scene when the trooper arrived, said the driver of a Cadillac, LaSalle, admitted to having three alcoholic drinks at a nearby bar before getting in his car.

The trooper walked the scene and determined LaSalle was driving southbound on Seventh Avenue when he completely crossed over into the northbound lane and collided with another vehicle.

When speaking with LaSalle, the trooper could smell alcohol and see that he had bloodshot eyes. LaSalle told the trooper he was drinking coffee while driving, started to cough as it went down the wrong pipe, temporarily blacked out and then “heard a loud bang.”

The trooper conducted a series of standardized field sobriety tests, the result of which led him to determine that LaSalle was impaired.

The trooper spoke to the driver of the other vehicle the next day. The driver said he was going northbound on the viaduct when he saw the other car move into his lane before hitting his.


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