Sheriff to Subpoena Kalispell Senator’s Blood-Alcohol Test

By Beacon Staff

Investigators arre still looking into a Flathead Lake boat crash that injured five, including U.S. Rep. Denny Rehberg, Flathead County Sheriff Mike Meehan said.

Officers executed a search warrant on the boat Monday “and we’re not prepared to make any statements until we get the investigation complete,” Meehan said. “It’s kind of touchy with so many agencies involved and with the people who are involved, we want to get it right.”

The county attorney’s office would have to pursue a subpoena to collect blood evidence from the boat’s occupants, including state Sen. Greg Barkus of Kalispell, who was driving when the boat slammed into rocks last Thursday night.

“It’s a legal process we have to go through,” Meehan said. “If (the blood evidence is) not legally obtained, it can be suppressed further down the road in trial.”

Alison Howard with the county attorney’s office says Barkus’ BAC has not been released. Rehberg’s office said the congressman’s blood-alcohol level was 0.05 at least three hours after the crash.

Meehan said he hoped to have the interviews and evidence processed by the end of the week, but “a lot depends on the medical condition of the people involved.”

Kathy Barkus said her husband remained in the intensive care unit of the Kalispell hospital Monday. She was released from the hospital Monday along with Rehberg and congressional staffer Kristen Smith. Another staffer, Dustin Frost, suffered a serious brain injury and has been sedated since the crash.

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