Written by Al Stover
Christopher Steven Bauman appeared in Montana 15th Judicial Court, Aug. 14.
Bauman pleaded not guilty to the felony charge of criminal endangerment and the misdemeanor charge of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, third offence; violation in a construction zone, driving while suspended or revoked and unlawful possession of open alcoholic beverage contained in motor vehicle on highway.
According to charging documents, July 7, Montana Highway Patrol Trooper Lynwood Bateman was working his shift traveling eastbound on U.S. Highway 2 at approximately mile marker 642 at an active construction zone. At 3:14 p.m., he noticed a black Dodge pickup truck traveling above the posted speed limit of 35 miles per hour. His radar confirmed the pickup’s speed at 48 mph. Bateman activated his top lights and initiated a traffic stop near mile marker 641.
Bateman told the driver the reason for the stop and asked for his driver’s license, proof of insurance and registration receipt, which the driver stated he did not have. When Bateman asked why he did not have any of the documents, the driver informed him that his license was suspended.
The trooper stated he noticed the driver’s eyes were bloodshot and watery, as well a strong smell of a metabolized alcoholic beverage coming from his breath. There was also a male child in the passenger seat. He also noticed an open six pack of beer, an open case of beer in the rear seat and a black high powered rifle in the seat next to the driver. Bateman asked the driver if he had any weapons on his person. After the driver said, “No,” the trooper had the driver leave his car and gave him a pat down to ensure their safety.
The driver provided his name, Christopher Steven Bauman, and told the trooper his license had been suspended for “drinking.” Bateman asked how much he had been drinking and Bauman said “four or five [beers].” Bauman also confirmed the child in the passenger seat was his son.
After Bateman told Bauman that he would be back momentarily and instructed him to stay behind the vehicle, Bauman immediately tried to return to the inside of the vehicle. Batemen once more told him to stay behind the vehicle and Bauman tried to return to the inside of the vehicle several minutes later.
Bauman approached Bateman and asked what he was doing and said he wanted to speak to his son. The trooper told Bauman there were weapons in the vehicle and that he would like him to stay behind the truck for safety reasons. He also said he would let him talk to his son.
Bateman returned to his vehicle and ran Bauman through Montana Highway Patrol dispatch, which notified the trooper that Bauman’s driving privileges were suspended in North Dakota. He notified dispatch that he would be conducting standardized field sobriety tests.
Bateman informed Bauman that due to the alcohol in the vehicle and his recent alcohol consumption that he needed to make sure he was still good to drive. After Bauman told Bateman that they both knew he was not good to drive, the officer said he still needed to ask him questions to determine that. Bauman refused to do the field sobriety tests and refused to give a breath sample.
Roosevelt County Sheriff’s Deputy Joe Moore arrived on the scene at 3:36 p.m., after Bateman informed Bauman he saw the open container in the vehicle. Bauman stated, “I was drinking and driving!” and later said, “I drink a lot!”
Bateman contacted dispatch and requested a phone call from the local Child Protective Services. Kristina Hughes made ar rangements to change the child to Mrs. Bauman’s house. Bateman also had Moore watch Bauman as he applied for a telephonic search warrant. Moore said that Bauman wanted to talk to the child and Bateman informed the deputy about the weapons and told him to keep a close eye on him.
As Moore stood by the door, he motioned to Bateman, who was applying for the warrant, that Bauman was drinking something. Bateman told the deputy to take it away and then retrieved all of the containers himself. He poured the remaining beer from the open bottle. Moore notified Bateman that Bauman was again drinking from a container. Bateman told Bauman to exit the vehicle and that he had given him the chance to talk to his son and his behavior was “unacceptable.”
Bateman made contact with Roosevelt County Justice of the Peace Hendrickson by telephone and she approved the warrant to obtain blood from Bauman. At 4:38 p.m., Bateman read Bauman the Montana DOJ Implied Consent Advisory and Bauman refused to give a blood sample. Bauman did give Moore permission to move his truck off the roadway and to approve a tow bill.
Bateman placed Bauman under arrest at 4:50 p.m. Moore told Bateman that he locked Bauman’s dog inside the vehicle. At 5:54 p.m., Bateman arrived at Trinity Hospital in Wolf Point to get a blood draw. Bauman requested to have a cigarette, to which Bateman agreed. He asked what was going on and Bateman explained the situation, to which Bauman said, “I know, I’m guilty.” He then provided a blood sample without incident.
At 6:56, Bateman transported Bauman to the Roosevelt County Jail.
Bauman is set to have his omnibus hearing, Aug. 28 and his trial date is scheduled for Oct. 17.