Man allegedly found passed out in running truck on I-90 denies felony charges
A man who police say was passed out behind the wheel of his running vehicle on I-90 has denied felony charges of criminal endangerment and DUI.
Timothy Scott Johnson, 38, entered the pleas two weeks ago in 22nd Judicial District Court. He was allowed to remain free pending the resolution of the case, under the condition that he wear an alcohol-monitoring device and not drive without an ignition interlock device.
Stillwater County Attorney Nancy Rohde said at the hearing that it is the second time Johnson has been arrested drunk on I-90.
In 2015, Johnson was convicted of felony criminal endangerment and a misdemeanor count of a second offense of DUI stemming from an incident in which he drove his pickup truck in the wrong lane of I-90, drove through the median, across the opposite lanes of traffic and into a ditch, where law enforcement found him passed out.
He received a 2-year deferred sentence for the crimes.
According to court documents, Montana Highway Patrol Trooper Wade Palen was dispatched to a report of a pickup truck parked in the driving lane of I-90, near mile marker 415. Palen found Johnson stopped on the shoulder of the road with his truck hazards on, and attempted to awaken Johnson.
After several attempts, which included the trooper trying to break the truck’s window, Johnson began to regain consciousness. Palen told Johnson to open the door, which Johnson failed to do. After Palen yelled at Johnson, Johnson rolled down his passenger side window, which allowed the trooper to reach in and unlock the truck, according to court documents.
As Palen began to get Johnson out of the truck, Johnson took his foot off the brake, causing the truck to begin to roll backwards toward Palen’s patrol car. Palen jumped into the moving truck to stop it, according to court documents. Johnson's blood alcohol content was tested at .166 by a sheriff’s deputy who assisted in the arrest.