A 29-year-old former law enforcement officer from Washington pleaded guilty to felony criminal endangerment and misdemeanor DUI nearly three months after he drove through a crash scene and led police on a high-speed chase in Flathead County.
Brandon Hoover, a former deputy with the Stevens County Sheriff’s Office north of Spokane, appeared before Judge Amy Eddy at a change of plea hearing on Feb. 22 in Flathead County District Court. Hoover will be sentenced on April 26.
According to court records, Hoover was driving down Montana Highway 35 in Creston on Nov. 23, 2017 when he drove through the scene of a fatal crash and struck a vehicle. A Montana Highway Patrol trooper who was helping investigate the crash got into his vehicle and started to chase Hoover. The chase proceeded south on Egan Slough Road where Hoover and the trooper reached speeds upwards of 100 miles per hour.
Soon after, Hoover drove into a field and took out a fence before returning to the road. He continued to drive down Egan Slough before turning onto Sonstelie Road, where he stopped the vehicle and turned off the lights. Hoover then exited the vehicle with his hands in the air. Hoover admitted that he was looking at his phone when he approached the crash scene and never saw the vehicle he allegedly hit. Hoover took a breathalyzer test and blew a .178, twice the legal limit, according to court records.
On Feb. 22, Hoover testified that he had gotten into a fight with his girlfriend prior to driving drunk through the crash scene.
Hoover also said during the court hearing that he had resigned from the sheriff’s office. Hoover had been a sheriff’s deputy since 2013.
According to the plea agreement, prosecutors will recommend a three-year deferred sentence for the criminal endangerment conviction and a six-month suspended sentenced for the DUI, with credit for five days served.
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