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An East Missoula woman has been charged with running a red light at West Broadway and Mullan Road, colliding with an unmarked police car, then kicking a state trooper in the shin and biting a detention officer in the arm at the county jail.

Heather Leane Bennett, 36, got out of her car after the crash, approached the officers and asked, “Are you drunk?” according to charging papers filed Wednesday.

When the two men in the car identified themselves as police officers, Bennett allegedly admitted she had been drinking. The investigating Montana Highway Patrol trooper reported smelling a strong odor of alcohol on her breath and that Bennett had difficulty walking to his patrol car.

The affidavit said that at the detention center after her arrest, Bennett became combative, kicking the trooper and biting detention officer Victor Smolinski on the arm.

The incidents occurred about 11 p.m. Tuesday.

Bennett faces charges of two felony counts of assault on a peace or judicial officer, and one misdemeanor each of negligent endangerment for driving after consuming alcohol, running a red light and striking a vehicle; and for driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.

Justice of the Peace John Odlin set bail for Bennett at $5,000. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Dec. 27.

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Reporter Kim Briggeman can be reached at (406) 523-5266 or by email at kbriggeman@missoulian.com.

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