At around 3:30 Saturday afternoon, a Missoula Police Department officer responded to the Burger King on North Reserve Street for a report of a male driver who was observed drinking from an open container in the drive-thru. Staff from Burger King described him as acting "really sloppy" and that they saw him take a "swig" out of the bottle. Police Public Information Officer Travis Welsh explains.

“The caller explained that they had observed the driver drinking alcohol from a bottle while in the drive-thru,” Welsh said. “The asked him to pull forward while they waited for his food. At that point, they called 911. The first officer on the scene observed the vehicle matching the description sitting in the middle of the parking lot occupied by three persons. The officer made contact with the driver who was identified as 38-year-old Joseph Brownell.”

While speaking with Brownell, the officer could smell an alcoholic beverage coming from his breath. His eyes appeared to be watery and he was speaking quietly and slurring his speech.

“The officer noted that a passenger in the front had an open container of alcohol and that there was a strong odor of alcohol coming out of the passenger compartment of the vehicle,” Welsh said. “The officer had the driver step out and conducted a DUI investigation. At the conclusion of which, Mr. Brownell was arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol. The officer learned that Mr. Brownell had previous convictions, making this his fourth or subsequent.”

According to court documents, the officer observed 16 out of 18 indicators of impairment during the Standardized Field Sobriety Tests. Brownell refused to provide both a breath and blood sample. The officer applied for and was granted a search warrant for his blood. Hornell was charged with felony driving under the influence because he has three prior DUI convictions. The most recent conviction occurred on November 13th, 2017.

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