A little over a year ago, Missoula County Justice of the Peace Landee Holloway instituted what is called the ROAD Court, which stands for Responsibility, Opportunity and Accountability for Drivers.

Earlier this month, Holloway called KGVO News to celebrate the first two graduates from the program.

“ROAD Court is intended to stabilize and make the roads safer by reducing alcohol related traffic events,” said Judge Holloway. “We hold people accountable for their actions and get to the root of some of their substance abuse issues. We have a team that supports the program represented by the Missoula County Attorney’s Office, the Montana Highway Patrol, a defense attorney, a treatment court coordinator and we also have a chemical dependency treatment provider along with misdemeanor probation.”

Holloway said all the participants in the program must adhere to very strict requirements.

“Part of that is we want people to address their substance abuse issues, but we’re also asking them to give back to the community in the form of community service,” she said. “Some of the requirements include UA’s and BA’s (Urine analysis and Breathalyzer analysis) testing for drugs and alcohol.”

Holloway said the program can help up to 30 people, but April was special.

“What we have are two individuals today that have graduated and they are Mr. Joe Stelling and Mr. Michael Henson and it was very moving,” she said. “Due to COVID, Mr. Stelling and Mr. Henson had to attend meetings online including sober support meetings as well as random drug and alcohol testing. Mr. Stelling had completed 109 drug and alcohol tests and Mr. Henson had as well. They came to court 22 times during that period and they have supported each other over months of chemical dependency treatment.”

Judge Holloway said all the hard work helped both men graduate from the ROAD Court program.

“We’re helping people to identify the issues and overcome some barriers in their lives and become the best, most productive people they can be,” she said. “In response, the community is become safer because fewer people are drinking and driving because of the changes we are making through this program.”

The program is grant funded through the Montana Department of Transportation.