At around 2:16 a.m. on Sunday, a Missoula Police Department officer was dispatched to the area of Clark Street and McDonald Avenue for a report of suspicious activity. The complainant called 911 to report a suspicious vehicle stopped in the intersection. Police Public Information Officer Lydia Arnold explains.

“Officers responded to a report of a suspected impaired driver,” Arnold said. “Based on the details provided by the original caller, officers were able to locate the vehicle and the male driving the vehicle, 47-year-old Shawn Fitzgerald. When the officer made contact with Fitzgerald, they observed indicators of impairment. Fitzgerald was taken into custody for fourth or subsequent DUI driving under the influence.”

Fitzgerald admitted to drinking, but denied driving his vehicle. He claimed his friend was driving the vehicle. The Officer called the original 911 caller who described the driver to be wearing a green or gray winter coat. Fitzgerald was wearing a green winter coat.

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Fitzgerald was again adamant he was not driving. He told the officer he was drunk and has had prior DUIs. Fitzgerald claimed his friend was driving, however he only provided a first name for his friend. When Officer Swartz asked further about his friend, Fitzgerald refused to provide his friend’s last name. When asked where his friend went and why his friend left, Fitzgerald advised it was possibly because his friend was drunk.

Fitzgerald was later found to be in possession of his car keys. Fitzgerald refused to perform Standardized Field Sobriety Tests and he also refused to provide a Preliminary Breath Test. The officer advised Fitzgerald he was under arrest for DUI and placed him in handcuffs. Court documents indicate Fitzgerald has five prior DUI convictions and a prior Implied Consent Testing Refusal.

The officer applied for a search warrant to obtain a blood draw. The Honorable Judge Larson approved the search warrant. The officer transported Fitzgerald to St. Patrick’s Hospital where the blood draw was obtained. The vials were sealed in a blood kit box and later logged into the evidence cooler at the MPD Catlin Station to be sent to the State Crime Lab for testing.

Fitzgerald is currently being charged with one count of felony DUI.

The information in this article was obtained from sources that are publicly available.

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