A man from Alberton, Montana, arrested on Friday and charged with what would be his eighth DUI allegedly put a pig’s ear and a piece of buckskin between his leg and an alcohol monitoring bracelet to avoid detection. John Walker Jr., 45, made his initial appearance in Missoula County Justice Court on Tuesday on his latest felony charge. According to a court affidavit, a sheriff’s deputy was called to Interstate 90 near Huson on Friday after receiving a report of a man passed out in the driver’s seat of his truck.
When the officer knocked on the window, Walker woke up. The deputy said he had difficulty speaking, his eyes were watery and he smelled of alcohol.
Walker made conflicting claims about where he was going to or coming from and admitted to drinking earlier in the day, the affidavit said. The deputy reported there were several empty beer cans and something that appeared to be a liquor bottle in the truck.
Walker was unable to stand and refused to participate in two field sobriety tests. He also refused to provide a breath sample. The officer obtained a warrant to collect a blood sample.
In court on Tuesday, deputy county attorney Brittany Santorno asked for a $25,000 bail for Walker, adding that he had allegedly been wearing an alcohol monitoring bracelet at the time of his arrest, put there after a previous DUI charge. Santorno said Walker had placed a pig’s ear and a piece of buckskin between his leg and the sensor to prevent it from detecting alcohol in his system.
According to a court affidavit, Walker has six prior DUI convictions dating back to 1995. He also has a seventh open felony DUI case in Missoula County after being arrested in August 2015.
In that case, a person called 911 after allegedly seeing Walker vomit on himself and pass out in his vehicle. He pleaded guilty to the felony DUI in June.
On Tuesday, public defence attorney Johnna Sutton asked for a $5,000 bail, saying Walker was set to be sentenced on his 2015 offence soon and didn’t want a larger bail to hold him from going to treatment at the Department of Corrections.
Acting Justice of the Peace Darla Keck set a $50,000 bail, twice the amount the prosecutor had requested, saying she found the thought Walker put into avoiding detection 'unbelievable.'
“I think that the safety of the public is paramount,” she said.