Butte man accused of driving drunk wrong way on Interstate 90



A Butte man was arrested Sunday night after he allegedly drove drunk the wrong way on Interstate 90 for nearly 20 miles.


Missoula County Sheriff’s spokeswoman Paige Pavalone said the John Braunreiter, 46, was stopped by deputies near the border of Missoula and Granite counties at mile marker 134. He was driving eastbound in the westbound lane of travel, she said.


Braunreiter pulled over in the median of the highway and told deputies he didn’t know he was driving, Pavalone said.


“He was in disbelief,” Pavalone said.


Pavalone said Braunreiter was highly intoxicated and refused to provide deputies with a breath sample. He also was too drunk to be booked into the Missoula County jail until late Monday morning, she said.


Braunreiter will appear in Missoula County Justice Court on Monday afternoon.


Pavalone said this is Braunreiter’s third charge of driving under the influence of alcohol. He also faces six felony counts of criminal endangerment, as well as charges of reckless driving, driving without insurance and driving while his license is suspended.


Pavalone said she didn’t know if the six criminal endangerment counts were because six people traveling down I-90 called 9-1-1 to report the man or if there were six passengers in vehicles who felt threatened.


Driving the wrong way on I-90 occurs fairly frequently and officers who respond to stop the driver are often “racing against time” to stop reckless drivers before they cause an accident, Pavalone said.


“Thank god people are thinking on their feet,” she said. “Someone could easily have been killed.”

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