Prosecutor Says Missoula Officer Justified in Shooting

Officer was hit by alleged drunken driver, shot into car

By Molly Priddy

MISSOULA — A Missoula police officer who fired his weapon into the vehicle of an alleged drunken driver after being struck by the vehicle has been found to be justified in the shooting.

The Missoulian reports Missoula Deputy County Attorney Jason Marks said Tuesday that based on preliminary reports, Officer Patrick Erbacher’s use of force was in line with Montana law. Marks said a more thorough investigation by the state Department of Justice is expected by next week.

Initial reports say 26-year-old Anthony Godinez had crashed into a truck on Sept. 5. Officers who were nearby told the driver to stop, but Godinez allegedly drove into Erbacher, who then shot into the vehicle.

Neither Godinez nor Erbacher was seriously injured.

Godinez pleaded not guilty Tuesday to assault and DUI charges.

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