Drive-thru crash results in felony charge

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A Kalispell man has been charged with felony criminal child endangerment after allegedly rear-ending a vehicle in a drive-thru, having reportedly taken sleeping medication and morphine earlier in the day.

Lawrence Stephen Chain, 58, is set to be arraigned on the charge Aug. 31 in Flathead District Court.

According to court documents, Kalispell Police Department responded to a report of a vehicle crash at a restaurant on East Idaho Street on July 23 where a pickup allegedly had rear-ended another vehicle in the drive-thru. The driver of the pickup allegedly then switched seats with a passenger before law enforcement arrived. When officers spoke with Chain, who was initially identified as the passenger in court documents, Chain reportedly advised police that he had recently been discharged from the hospital and was taking sleeping medication.

After the reporting party involved in the incident identified Chain as the driver when the crash occurred and that he had switched seats before officers arrived, Chain reportedly admitted to police that he was driving. Officers also noted a 2-year-old child was seated in the pickup according to court documents.

Chain allegedly showed several indicators of impairment during field sobriety tests. Chain reportedly refused to submit a blood sample when initially asked by police.

Officers checked Chainís driving history, which showed five prior convictions of DUI or DUI per se in 1987, 1989, and three in 1990. Officers then transported Chain to the hospital for a blood draw. Chain then reportedly admitted to taking morphine in addition to the sleeping medication earlier day according to court documents.

Arraignment is set for Aug. 31.

Reporter Hilary Matheson may be reached at 758-4431 or hmatheson@dailyinterlake.com.

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