Missoula, MT (KGVO-AM News) - On May 5, 2024, at approximately 10:44 AM, Missoula Police Department Officers were dispatched to an injury accident at Rollins Street and West Addison Street. When the officers arrived, they noticed a white SUV still in the intersection and a grey sedan that crashed into a residential fence.  

A male with blood on his forehead identified himself as the driver of the vehicle. When the officer spoke with him, he noted the distinct smell of metabolized alcohol on his breath, his eyes were glossy, and his speech slurred. The male identified himself as 18-year-old Elijah Buhler. Buhler told the officer that he did not have a driver’s license, only a learner’s permit. Two other occupants of the vehicle also identified themselves. 

Then the officer spoke with John Doe who identified himself as the driver and sole occupant of the white SUV still parked in the intersection. Doe said he was driving down the road and did not see the grey car coming because “they must have been flying”, noting that they were presumably speeding.  

Witness Provides a Statement 

A witness to the events also provided a statement. She said she was waiting at the same intersection on her bike when she saw the white vehicle approaching the intersection while the grey car was approaching “way too fast”. She stated they crashed in the intersection and the grey car nearly hit her. She added that she swerved on her bike to avoid colliding with the grey car, crashed on her bike, and sustained injuries.  

An officer asked Buhler if he had any alcohol that day and Buhler denied consuming any marijuana or any product that would affect his ability to operate a motor vehicle safely. According to court documents, Buhler then began walking to the back seat of the officer’s patrol vehicle and had to be corrected several times to sit on the front bumper before he eventually understood and complied. The officer began to conduct a DUI investigation. 

Buhler agreed to a preliminary breath test where he blew a .222. Court documents indicate Buhler knew the legal limit was .08 and .02 if under the age of 21. Buhler was placed under arrest for DUI and detained in a patrol vehicle without further issue. 

READ MORE: Missoula News – Crime Reports 

Buhler Admits to Drinking and Driving 

When Buhler was secured in the back of the patrol vehicle, he admitted that he did in fact drink. The officer then advised Buhler of his Miranda Rights to which he stated he understood. Buhler admitted that he began drinking in the morning and had already consumed two shots of Everclear and two shots of vodka. Buhler said he saw the other vehicle and tried to slow down, but was ultimately unable to avoid the crash. Buhler admitted that "it was my fault. I've been drinking." 

Buhler is currently being charged with felony criminal endangerment, DUI first offense, row violation, and driving without a valid driver's license.  

The information in this article was obtained from sources that are publicly viewable. 

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