State Senator Greg Barkus Drinking at the Time of the Crash

by jhwygirl

Supermontanareporter John S. Adams, state capitol bureau chief for the Great Falls Tribune brings the news that state Senator Greg Barkus was drinking at the time of the crash. While that isn’t news to anyone but the greatest of skeptics, the fact that the Flathead County Attorney’s office is putting that information out there is.

It is worthy to note that Title 23 of Montana Code Annotated – which regulates the use of watercraft in Montana – does not require a specific level of alcohol (unlike motorized vehicles, which are defined by code as wheeled vehicles). Barkus merely had to be “under the influence of alcohol,” of which Title 23 lacks no specific definition.

We had some discussion here with regards to Title 23 in this thread.

Now – certainly the Flathead prosecutor would be far better off to have that BAC test back from the state crime lab before filing charges, and beyond that, Barkus is in Seattle at the Harborview Medical Center for surgery on his broken pelvis. He spent 5 days in ICU in Kalispell Medical Center, taking several blood transfusions, and was flown to Seattle today.

Before anyone goes getting all teary-eyed over Barkus (clearly, I’m not…), remember Dustin Frost, Rep. Denny Rehberg’s staffer who was seriously injured. Frost’s condition is still being described as “serious,” by his neurosurgeon. It will be that way for quite a while.

Dustin Frost has suffered a severe closed head injury and is requiring aggressive monitoring and treatment,” Hollis said in the statement. “He is showing slow improvements in his status but still requires intensive nursing care. Further recovery is anticipated.”

“Further recovery”? Yeah – don’t look for any sympathy for Barkus from me. I’m not wishing him ill….but he will reap what he’s sown.

We’ll wait now to hear what Barkus’ BAC actually was. When it comes out that he was falling down drunk, questions will come back to Rehberg (who’s BAC, according to Erik Iverson, was “well below the legal level,” at .05 BAC, 3 hours after the crash) and his utter lack of judgment in not only getting himself and his friends and staff into that boat, but in allowing someone he’d been drinking with for several hours get behind the wheel of a boat.

Again – keeping in mind that in Montana, there is no defined level of ‘under the influence’ for operation of a watercraft.

The utter disregard for the laws of this state and the utter disregard for not only personal safety but public safety to anyone that could have encountered this death rocket – piloted by state Sen. Greg Barkus – on the water will be, in the end, the real story here.

One will pay with at least a felony arrest charge, while for others – specifically Rep. Denny Rehberg – will live with the disrespect for the law and the lack of judgment regarding the personal safety of himself and everyone else, including the public on the public’s waterway.

I’ll call again for positive thoughts, prayers and concerns for Dustin Frost. He has a long way to go to just get himself out of the hospital. Life has changed for Dustin and his family, and positive energy and excellent care will go a long way.

  1. kginmt

    Denny on the Rocks
    .18 seems to be the number floating around when discussing Barkus’ BAC. The hospital can do a test – not as scientifically acurate as the state crime lab, my opinion would be Barkus & his attorney know he is in a world of trouble and are demanding additional testing as a stalling technique.
    In other news, our Congressman doesn’t seem to want to answer any questions from concerned Montanan’s either

    The following is an atricle from the Missoulian…seems Rehberg’s so unwilling to address & be anywhere near his constituents he hops (literally) the next train out of town:
    Still recovering from boat crash, Rehberg headed back to D.C. on Amtrak
    By MICHAEL JAMISON of the Missoulian | Posted: Friday, September 4, 2009 7:05 pm |

    With doctors warning him not to fly following a violent boat wreck, Congressman Denny Rehberg, R-Mont., is taking the train back to Washington, D.C.

    “I’ll be at my desk in D.C. on Tuesday morning,” Rehberg said in a Friday press statement.

    He will travel via Amtrak, on the Empire Builder, with his wife Jan. The trip, which includes a train switch in Chicago, takes about two days.

    Although the Republican will be back to work on Sept. 8 – the first day after the August recess – no House votes are scheduled for that day.

    Rehberg sustained a head injury and a broken ankle, which required surgery, in the Aug. 27 crash on Flathead Lake. Montana state Sen. Greg Barkus, R-Kalispell, was driving the powerboat when it ran aground at high speed, at about 10:20 p.m.

    Rehberg’s state director, Dustin Frost, remains hospitalized and in stable condition, with a serious head injury.

  2. kginmt

    P.S. Of course thoughts and prayers to young Dusty Frost – despite being on different sides of the isle I always found him to be a pleasant, respectful young man who served Montana (and this country as a MT National Guardsman) proudly. Speedy recovery to him and best wishes to his family at this time!

  3. Rae Griffith

    WOW! What a great article. I personally believe Sen. Barkus should face felony charges and sentenced to jail! You know full well if it were a group of college kids or a boat full of loaded hippies crashing their boat on the shores of Wayfares they would be made a quick example of. Furthermore I think he should resign from his leadership role in the state. These are certainly not the types of behaviors a representative of the people should be displaying….let alone getting off with a slap on the wrist for!

  4. Rae Griffith

    Rheberg’s front page article stating his recollection of the events was also a load of manure.

  5. Richard Sawhill

    I got out of the Watch Program in Sept. It was the best thing that I have ever done for myself and my Family,friends, and all the people I put in danger while I was drinking. I think Barkus should give it a try. It seems when law makers approve a law, they should abide by them also.
    I hope and pray the best for Dustin Frost and pray he makes a full recovery.

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