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Police say that Troy Joseph Whalen, 52, of Butte hit a utility pole, shrubbery and a tree as he exited the Interstate 90 on Montana Street in what they believe was an alcohol-related accident.

Police said they arrived around 11 p.m. Monday at the 2200 block of Placer Street in response to a report that a heavily damaged truck had pulled into the drive way of a residence.

At the scene, police discovered that branches and shrubbery were sticking out of the vehicle, the car’s front end was damaged, and that its airbags had been deployed.

The driver, Whalen, told officers that he had gotten into the accident on the interstate after one of his wheels had blown out. But police said the man appeared intoxicated, so they gave him a field sobriety test, which he allegedly failed. They then took him to the Butte jail, where he allegedly failed another field sobriety test and blew twice the legal limit.

As of Tuesday morning, Whalen remained in Butte county jail where he faces a felony DUI charge along with misdemeanor charges of reckless driving, driving with a suspended license and committing a hit-and-run involving highway fixtures. Whalen was not injured in the accident, police said.


Police say a 26-year-old Clancy man faces a host of misdemeanor charges after he fled the scene of a minor accident on Harrison Avenue at 50 miles per hour.

Officers were patrolling Monday afternoon in the area of the 1800 block of Harrison when they spotted a white vehicle trailing behind another vehicle that had its hazard lights on. When officers approached the two vehicles, police said, the white vehicle took off north on Harrison Avenue, leaving the other vehicle behind. According to police, the driver of the car with the blinking hazards told officers that the white car had just rear-ended his vehicle.

Police said officers began following the white car as it traveled north on Harrison, which at times reached speeds of 50 miles per hour. Police were finally able to pull the vehicle over on the 1200 block of Harrison. Jordan Gonzales, the driver, at that time told officers that he was not attempting to evade police but was merely looking for a place to pull over, police said.

At the scene officers discovered a warrant out was out for his arrest out of Jefferson County for not paying fines. They arrested Gonzales on the warrant and later cited him with a series of new misdemeanor charges, including eluding police and diving without a valid license.


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