LETTER: Rehberg Wasn’t Drunk at the Time of the Boat Crash

By Beacon Staff

In Jennifer McKee’s article of Sept. 29, Dennis McDonald accuses Congressman Rehberg of being drunk. I am compelled to share my personal experience to refute the allegations of Rehberg’s political opponent. I was with Congressman Rehberg in Lakeside shortly before the accident. I met Congressman Rehberg for the first time Thursday night. I have never contributed funds/services to Congressman Rehberg’s, nor any, political campaign.

The “Toby Stone Duo” is very active in the Flathead Valley. We are members of the Eureka, Whitefish, Kalispell and Lakeside Chambers of Commerce. We do fundraisers/silent auctions for groups such as: Soroptomists and Volunteer Fire Departments. We play regularly at Elks’ and VFW‘s around the Flathead Valley. We were entertaining the night of the boat accident. As an entertainer, it becomes readily apparent who is drinking and who is not.

I have more than 23 years experience working with drug-and-alcohol addicted people. Additionally, I worked for over 10 years at a drug and alcohol treatment center. I am trained to observe and monitor levels of intoxication.

Throughout the night in question, Congressman Rehberg and I spent time together. We spoke on several occasions. I even dedicated a song to him. We were both working the dinner-dance. Congressman Rehberg was not intoxicated. He cordially addressed those who approached him. The Congressman’s behavior was sociable while enjoying the fellowship of the occasion. At no time, did Rehberg lose control. He did not smell of alcohol, his eyes clear and steady, his verbiage consistent. We spoke shortly before he boarded the boat. His speech was clear and articulate. As he walked down the dock, I observed him. His gait was steady, movements coordinated.

Mr. McDonald attempts to calculate Rehberg’s blood-alcohol level at time of crash. He asserts three hours passed before Rehberg’s blood was drawn. McDonald alleges Rehberg was drunk. It is a well-known fact that body weight, length of time since last drink, amount of food eaten, metabolism rate and trauma are considerations. Due to injury, metabolism slowed. Rehberg’s body reacted to more pressing needs. This slowed the rate of alcohol detoxification. Rehberg’s blood-alcohol level would have been dramatically reduced in the absence of trauma.

On the night of the boat accident, Congressman Rehberg has been erroneously portrayed as drunk. The fact is, I was there. It’s not true. My heartfelt compassion goes out to Congressman Rehberg and his staff. They were injured passengers in an unforeseen calamity. I wish them speedy recovery.
Terry Brick
Toby Stone Duo

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