A Hamilton man accused of driving the wrong way on U.S. Highway 93 South in Missoula County faces a felony charge of criminal endangerment.
Omar Rodriguez-Martinez, 19, was arrested Wednesday after a report of someone driving slowly north in the southbound lane of the highway, according to charging documents filed by Assistant Chief Deputy County Attorney Suzy Boylan.
When a Missoula County sheriff’s deputy located the white passenger car, it was on the shoulder of the northbound lane, Boylan’s affidavit said.
The driver appeared dazed and stumbled when he got out of the car, it said.
“His eyes were red and watery and his pupils dilated. A cigarette which later tested positive for marijuana was on the driver’s side floorboard,” the affidavit said.
Rodriguez-Martinez, who doesn’t speak English, told a Spanish-speaking University of Montana police officer that “he and a friend purchased ‘spice’ (synthetic cannabis) from a store in Missoula,” it said. He denied using alcohol or marijuana and consented to a blood draw, it said.
Other motorists told sheriff’s deputies they saw the vehicle traveling slowly in the passing lane, drifting into their lane and almost hitting an oncoming car head-on before striking the guardrail and coasting about 100 yards before stopping, it said.
Bail for Rodriguez-Martinez was set at $10,000 on Thursday in Missoula County Justice Court. Criminal endangerment carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and/or a $50,000 fine.
Rodriguez-Martinez also was charged with a first offense of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, a misdemeanor.