Kalispell Sen. Barkus to Be Arraigned Oct. 26

By Beacon Staff

State Sen. Greg Barkus is scheduled to be arraigned Oct. 26 on three felony charges stemming from an August boat crash on Flathead Lake that injured five people, including U.S. Rep. Denny Rehberg.

Barkus will appear in a Kalispell courtroom with District Judge Nels Swandel of Livingston presiding via teleconference. The 62-year-old Kalispell Republican was charged with one count of criminal endangerment and two counts of negligent vehicular assault after he drove his speedboat onto the rocky shoreline at Wayfarers State Park the night of Aug. 27.

Prosecutors say Barkus’ blood-alcohol content was twice the legal limit, although his attorney has already challenged those tests. His attorney, Todd Glazier, did not respond to requests for comment Tuesday and Barkus declined to comment.

Injured in the crash were Rehberg, Barkus and his wife Kathy, and two Rehberg staffers — Kristin Smith and Dustin Frost.

Barkus remains in a wheelchair while recovering from a broken pelvis. Rehberg needed surgery to repair a badly broken ankle, and Frost is recovering from serious head injuries that left him in a coma for days after the crash.

All three district judges in Kalispell recused themselves from the case to avoid any appearance of impropriety. Barkus carried legislation to increase the number of judges in several Montana districts, including the Flathead.