A Missouri woman faces a felony charge after prosecutors allege she was driving erratically on U.S. Highway 10 while under the influence of a prescription medication.
Salome Anne Engle, 58, was arrested after troopers with the Montana Highway Patrol were dispatched to Highway 10 near the Wye on Tuesday morning around 7:22 a.m. after receiving reports that a U-Haul truck was driving the wrong direction down the road and nearly hit several drivers.
The trooper found and followed the vehicle, noting that it was straddling the center line. When he attempted to stop the truck, Engle allegedly continued to drive, reaching speeds of up to 67 miles per hour in a 45 miles per hour area, according to a court affidavit.
When the vehicle eventually did pull over, Engle allegedly showed the trooper a pair of glasses missing one lens and said she didn’t hear his siren. The highway patrolman said Engle seemed disoriented and her eyelids were drooping.
She scored poorly on field sobriety tests, but submitted a breath sample that showed no alcohol in her system. The trooper said an open bottle of Ambien was sitting in Engle’s cup holder.
Engle was taken to the hospital for a blood sample draw. When she and the trooper were leaving, she allegedly asked if it was 9 p.m. in the evening. The trooper told her it was 9 a.m.
She is charged with felony criminal endangerment and a misdemeanor for driving under the influence. In Missoula County Justice Court on Wednesday, public defense attorney Ted Fellman asked for Engle to be released on her own recognizance so she could start a job in New Mexico, adding that DUI cases involving Ambien were “peculiar.”
Acting Justice of the Peace Shane Vannatta agreed and released her pending further court proceedings, but ordered her not to take any more Ambien.
“Frankly I’m surprised it hasn’t been removed from the market,” he said.