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Man accused of driving 100 mph in wrong direction on I-90

Posted at 4:23 AM, Apr 17, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-17 06:23:17-04

BOZEMAN – A Mexican citizen was arrested early Monday morning after allegedly driving about 100 mph the wrong way on Interstate 90 with a blood-alcohol level nearly three times the legal limit.

Juan Carlos Espejel, 26, appeared in Gallatin County Justice Court on Monday on a charge of criminal endangerment.

According to court documents, a Gallatin County sheriff’s deputy was dispatched to a report of a wrong-way driver on I-90 around 1 a.m. Monday.

The deputy reported that dispatch received at least seven other calls as he was en route, stating that the vehicle was traveling eastbound in the westbound lane around 100 mph.

The deputy stated that he located Espejel in a vehicle at mile marker 284 between Logan and Manhattan. The vehicle, a black 2002 BMW SUV, was reportedly halfway in the #1 lane and halfway in the median.

The vehicle was smoking with its front passenger side tire and wheel missing, according to the reporting deputy.

Court documents state that Espejel had a Budweiser beer can in the center console and was swaying heavily to the point of falling over when the deputy encountered him.

The deputy reported that Espejel had limited understanding of English and was identified by items in his wallet as a Mexican citizen.

Espejel allegedly told the deputy he had consumed 34 alcoholic beverages. He was taken to the Gallatin County Detention Center where he was read a Spanish version of the Montana Implied Consent Advisory and agreed to a breath test. The result reportedly showed his blood-alcohol level to be 0.231 percent, almost three times the legal limit of 0.08 percent.

A translator was provided via phone for Espejel’s Justice Court appearance. He stated through the translator that he has been living in Gallatin County for six months, working in Big Sky.

Judge Bryan Adams set Espejel’s bail at $2,500. As a condition of his release, he must wear a SCRAM alcohol-monitoring ankle bracelet.

Espejel is scheduled to make his initial appearance in District Court on May 11.