Missoula man accused of driving drunk, hitting bicyclist, leaving scene

2012-01-31T22:45:00Z 2014-02-21T19:47:34Z Missoula man accused of driving drunk, hitting bicyclist, leaving sceneBy GWEN FLORIO of the Missoulian missoulian.com
January 31, 2012 10:45 pm  • 

A motorist accused of hitting a bicyclist and driving away first told police that he hit a rock, then began complaining about bicyclists without lights, according to charging documents filed Tuesday.

In the incident early Tuesday morning, Christopher Robert Patterson, 21, of Missoula, faces charges of negligent vehicular assault resulting in serious bodily injury, and failure to remain at an accident scene where a person is seriously injured, both felonies.

He's accused of driving a Honda Accord while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs and hitting the cyclist in the 1000 block of East Broadway, according to an affidavit filed by Deputy Missoula County Attorney Patricia Bower. A car's side mirror was recovered there, the affidavit said.

According to the police report included with the affidavit:

A police officer investigating the accident saw a black Honda Accord driving on one rim past the scene. The car also was missing an outside rear-view mirror. "The broken mirror housing exactly matched the pattern of the remaining housing on Mr. Patterson's Honda," the report said.

When police asked Patterson for his registration and proof of insurance, he handed the officer a maintenance receipt from University Motors. Then he handed the officer a tire receipt and tried again to give the officer the maintenance receipt. The officer had to tell Patterson what his registration looked like before he finally found it.

Patterson denied he'd been drinking, but scored a 0.165 on the Intoxilyzer, twice the legal driving limit of 0.08.

When told he was suspected of hitting a cyclist, "Patterson responded, unsolicited, with something to the effect of ‘I thought it was a rock,' then, ‘The bicyclist didn't have a light,' and proceeded to rant and continue on about possible bicyclist equipment violations," according to the police report.

"During an interview with Detective Mark Blood, defendant admitted to driving a car, hitting the victim and seeing the victim lying on the side of the road in his rear-view mirror," Bower's affidavit said.

"Due to the egregious facts" in the case, Bower sought a $100,000 bail.

Acting Missoula County Justice of the Peace Mike Frellick set bail at $50,000 and ordered that Patterson be fitted with an alcohol-monitoring ankle bracelet if he manages to post bond. He also ordered him not to drive, nor to have any contact with the cyclist.

The cyclist was treated at a hospital and released, according to Missoula Police Detective Sgt. Travis Welsh. His injuries were not life-threatening, Welsh said.

Negligent vehicular assault resulting in serious injury carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and/or a $10,000 fine, while leaving the scene of an injury accident can result in a 10-year prison sentence and/or a $50,000 fine.

Missoulian reporter Gwen Florio can be reached at 523-5268, gwen.florio@missoulian.com or CopsAndCourts.com.


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(1) Comments

  1. ChristopherPatterson
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    ChristopherPatterson - February 15, 2014 11:15 pm
    I am doing a public service speech on February 21st 2014 for a full auditorium of Sentinel High School Students. This is a 50 minute presentation that will be about my behaviors as an Alcoholic, My Arrest, and how I have changed my life entirely to be a productive member of society. I will also speak about the hard lessons that the DOC has taught me, and how I am grateful every day that I did not seriously harm anyone.

    I am asking you to please come to Sentinel High School on Friday, February 21st 2014 at 10:30 am and please listen to how I have changed since I have caused this unfortunate accident.
    Of course, I thank god still to this day that the victim is OK. It has been over 2 years since I did this and I have been working every day at being a better and sober person. I have finally came to the point where my record will be expunged and I am extremely thankful that I was given this chance. This was my wake up call and I have not squandered this opportunity to learn. This event was a form of intervention and I am happy to say that I am living a sober life now.

    I am very excited to speak out about the dangers of drinking and driving and I have set up many other speech dates at other high schools including Florence Carlton High School and Willard Alternative School in the near future. I am 23 years old and I feel I can help make a difference in some people's lives simply because I was a Montana teenager in the recent past. I am dedicated to my recovery and I am hoping to use this accident as a motivational tool in order to help people.

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