On Sunday morning, Montana Highway Patrol Trooper Templeton was nearly struck head-on by a drunk driver going at high speed in the Big Flat area.

According to court documents, 32 year-old Curtis Oldchief was intoxicated while driving a black Ford Explorer with four passengers with a suspended license and no insurance just before noon on Sunday.

Trooper Templeton stated that he began his pursuit of the suspect after requesting assistance from dispatch. He observed the SUV going over 100 miles per hour over the Kona Ranch Bridge, and at high speeds onto Big Flat Road.

At one point Templeton lost sight of the SUV in a cloud of dust and observed the SUV driving straight for him. He could not move his vehicle due to the steep grades on either side of the road, so he braced himself for a head-on collision, when the SUV swerved at the last minute and sped by.

Deputy County Attorney Karla Painter explained why she asked substitute Justice of the Peace Matt Erickson for $50,000 bond.

“The defendant is charged with five felonies,” Painter began. “Aside from the danger involved in this case, jeopardizing the lives of five individuals, the defendant also has a history of similar conduct. In 2009 the defendant was convicted of negligent homicide for killing a passenger in very similar circumstances in Cascade County. He received a three year sentence followed by three years of probation, but after violating his probation, finished his term in custody.”

Court documents indicate that Oldchief admitted to the MHP trooper that he had been driving drunk.

Oldchief was charged with five counts of felony criminal endangerment, DUI, driving while license was suspended and failure to carry proof of insurance.

Judge Erickson set bail at $50,000 and ordered Oldchief to appear again on September 24.

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