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Letter

Gov. Steve Bullock:

I am writing on behalf of my brother Dave and all Montana residents who are at risk due to inadequate funding of the state crime lab. On the Fourth of July, my brother lost his wife Alice and daughter Katie in a head-on collision near their home in Kalispell.

Words cannot express the shock and confusion that has occurred when the drunk-driving suspect was released after a brief stay in the hospital. In Alabama, a suspected drunk driver is not released until he is charged and posts a bond, if able. I believe the difference between Montana and Alabama is that the Alabama crime lab can process a simple blood alcohol test within a day or two, not the 90 days it took in Montana for this case.

A warrant for the arrest of this other driver was released earlier this week. He is at large, and could be anywhere, putting drivers in Montana or surrounding states at risk.

I would ask that before another husband and father senselessly loses his wife and daughter, you address the legislature to immediately fund the crime lab to a level that could keep suspected intoxicated criminals incarcerated.

Dean Barten,

Owens Cross Roads, Alabama

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