Missoula, MT (KGVO-AM News) - At approximately 3:00 a.m. on April 16, 2023, the Missoula County Dispatch Center put out a call of a wrong-way driver that was originally traveling west on I‐90 and then crossed the median and continued traveling west in the eastbound lanes. It was reported that the wrong-way vehicle almost struck two vehicles that were traveling east on I‐90.

A blue Ford F‐150 pickup truck was traveling west on I‐90 negotiating a curve and the pickup went off the left side of the roadway, struck a reflector post, and went into the median. The pickup came out of the median and entered the roadway of the eastbound lanes traveling west and almost struck a vehicle. 

Then the pickup struck a guardrail face, bounced off of it, continued traveling west in the eastbound lanes, and almost struck a semi-truck. The vehicle finally came to a stop partially in the passing lane and in the median of the eastbound lane facing the wrong direction. 

Multiple law enforcement agencies and officers responded. The driver of the vehicle was identified as 34-year-old Joseph Finley and his license returned suspended out of Montana following a previous DUI. According to court documents, there was no insurance on the vehicle.  

A Montana Highway Patrol Trooper responded to the local hospital where Finley was taken. Finley was lying in bed with a cut on his forehead. The trooper could smell a strong smell of an alcoholic beverage. The trooper introduced himself and began asking him questions about the night.  

Finley admitted that he had been drinking. He said he got on the roadway and was having a hard time seeing the road. He continued driving and he said he felt like he hit someone on the road. He said he wasn’t sure if he actually hit someone or if it was his vehicle not operating correctly.  

Finley said that he had two beers at a local bar and four mixed drinks at a different local bar. According to court documents, he repeated a couple of times that he knows he messed up. The trooper conducted an HGN test and Finley showed 6 out of 6 clues of impairment. Other tests were not performed because Finley was in a hospital bed.  

Finley agreed to provide a PBT which measured his breath alcohol content at .174. Implied consent was read, and Finley also provided a blood sample. Finley was medically cleared and placed under arrest. 

Finley is currently being charged with felony criminal endangerment, DUI second offense, driving with a suspended license, and failure to carry proof of liability insurance second offense. Finley has a prior DUI from April 23, 2019, out of Missoula Justice Court. On April 17, 2023, Finley made his initial appearance in Missoula Justice Court and his bond was set at $50,000.

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

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