The Kalispell man who was allegedly driving a Jeep that ran head-on into a pickup truck resulting in the deaths of two men has been formally charged with homicide.
Joseph Leroy Powell, 46, appeared in Flathead County District Court on Oct. 21 and accused of two counts of vehicular homicide while under the influence, felony charges that carry a maximum possible sentence of 30 years in prison and $50,000 each.
Powell was arrested on Oct. 18 after he was released from Kalispell Regional Medical Center following the Oct. 17 accident. He was treated for a broken arm and a dislocated hip.
According to charging documents, Montana Highway Patrol troopers were dispatched to the scene of a crash on U.S. Highway 93, south of Kalispell at mile marker 107, on Oct. 17 at about 11 p.m.
Three troopers investigating the scene determined that Powell had been driving northbound in the southbound lane when his Jeep hit a pickup truck. The driver of that truck, Brian Delaney, 43, of Kalispell, was declared dead at the scene.
A passenger in the Jeep driven by Powell, later identified as Patrick Moulton, 43, of Kalispell, was taken to KRMC after the crash, but later died at the hospital.
The troopers reported making contact with Powell while he was in the hospital, and other than occasionally opening his eyes, he was largely unresponsive during the questioning.
The troopers reported that Powell smelled “of an alcoholic beverage” and that his eyes appeared bloodshot when he would open them. The troopers reported that they read the Montana Implied Consent to Powell and asked him several times if he understood.
Due to his unresponsiveness, a blood test was conducted and sent to the Montana State Crime Lab for analysis.
Powell was released from KRMC on Oct. 18, and taken into custody. Prosecutors say Powell agreed to speak with law enforcement, and “admitted to drinking several beers over the course of one to two hours preceding the collision.”
As of Monday, Oct. 21, Powell was in custody at the Flathead County Detention Center, with an arraignment scheduled for Nov. 7.
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