Missoula, MT (KGVO-AM News) - At approximately 8:00 a.m. on January 10th, 2023, a Montana Highway Patrol Trooper responded to a vehicle crash located at mile marker 126 on Interstate 90. While responding, the trooper observed a silver vehicle driving slowly on the shoulder with its hazards on.  

When the trooper arrived at the crash location, his vehicle slid considerably when he tried to stop. The trooper re-parked his car, activated his rear emergency lights, and spoke to the driver of the crashed vehicle who was not injured. 

During this time, the silver vehicle approached the crash scene and then stopped approximately even with the trooper’s patrol car on the median shoulder of the interstate. Due to the extremely icy roads and the high amount of traffic, the trooper became concerned that the silver vehicle was going to cause a crash in its current position.  

The trooper motioned for the driver of the silver vehicle, who was later identified as Michel Brand, to keep moving and off the median shoulder. The trooper observed the vehicle’s front bumper was damaged and it looked like it was hanging nearly touching the ground. 

Brand then parked his vehicle in front of the trooper’s patrol car and then began to walk back to the trooper. As the trooper walked towards Brand, Brand turned away. The trooper also observed Brand to move his body in a jerky sporadic manner, which the trooper was aware from his experience as a Drug Recognition Expert can be a sign of illicit drug use.  

When asked if he needed any help, Brand told the trooper in mumbled speech that he did not need any help. The trooper said Brand looked at him with darting, shifting eye contact and would pause abnormally when speaking with him. At other times, Brand would speak in a very fast manner. The trooper attempted to ID Brand, but Brand was unable to locate his wallet or his ID. 

Because of the trooper’s observation of his person and the general interaction, the trooper asked Brand if he struggled with addiction. Brand looked at the trooper and said he had never used illicit narcotics. The trooper then told Brand that he believed him to be impaired and requested he complete standardized field sobriety tests to determine the level of his impairment. 

According to court documents, Brand showed several clues of impairment during the standardized field sobriety tests. The trooper told Brand he believed him to be under the influence of a drug. Furthermore, the trooper asked Brand if he would consent to a search of his vehicle. 

Brand agreed to allow a search of the vehicle. During the search, the trooper located multiple used hypodermic needles. Dispatch was able to identify Brand through an Oklahoma driver’s license. It was determined that Brand was required to have an ignition interlock device in his vehicle, but he did not have one. 

Court documents indicate Brand has three prior DUI convictions out of Oklahoma. Brand is currently being charged with felony aggravated DUI. On January 12, 2023, Brand made his initial appearance in Missoula Justice Court and his bond was set at $20,000. 

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

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