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Matt Hermanson

Montana free safety Matt Hermanson hits Cal Poly quarterback Dano Graves.

The starting free safety for the University of Montana football team pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of criminal mischief in Missoula County Justice Court on Monday.

Matthew Brian Hermanson, 21, was arrested on Sept. 22 after damaging two signs on Old Fort Road while intoxicated.

Hermanson broke off a directional sign from its wooden post at the intersection of Post Siding Road and Old Fort Road.

A nearby speed zone sign was bent and folded together, but a sheriff’s sergeant was able to bend the sign back into its correct position.

After his arrest, Hermanson was suspended from the Grizzlies football team for one game.

His attorney, Paul Ryan, told Justice of the Peace John Odlin that the junior from Sioux Falls, S.D., has apologized for his misbehavior in a letter and replaced the damaged sign himself.

Odlin ordered Hermanson to pay $635 in fines, which he paid in full Monday. Hermanson did not speak during the brief court hearing.

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According to court documents, Missoula County Sheriff’s Deputy Duncan Crawford was patrolling the area early on the morning of Sept. 22 when he saw a person throwing a large white object onto Old Fort Road from a lawn adjacent to the road.

“He discerned the individual was a shirtless man and later identified him from his South Dakota driver’s license as Matthew Hermanson,” the affidavit stated.

Hermanson appeared to be drunk, which was confirmed later by a breath sample that registered at 0.185 percent alcohol concentration.

Hermanson also had a Municipal Court warrant for $114 for a traffic violation, the affidavit stated.

Hermanson was booked at the Missoula County jail at 2:30 a.m., where he told Crawford that he was out with friends, drank too much, and somehow ended up alone and on foot.

Hermanson was bonded out several hours later.

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Reporter Kathryn Haake can be reached at 523-5268 or at kate.haake@missoulian.com.

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