Probationer from felony DUI, criminal endangerment case sent back into state custody for drug use

By: 
Marlo Pronovost
Thursday, October 3, 2019
Article Image Alt Text

A woman who has already spent several months in a secure treatment facility for driving drunk with her young child has been sent back to state custody for using marijuana and failing to stay in contact with her probation officer.

Kaylee Gunderson, 34, appeared in 22nd Judicial Court last week, at which time her 2016 deferred sentence was revoked and Judge Matt Wald imposed a 3-year sentence to the Montana Department of Corrections. Gunderson had previously admitted to using marijuana and to not keeping in touch with her probation officer as required -- although last Thursday, she claimed that she had tried to report to her probation officer and it was the officer who failed to get back in touch with her.

Gunderson’s defense attorney said he agreed with the 3-year sentence, saying that it would not be to Gunderson’s benefit to have any portion of that suspended.

Wald ordered Gunderson into custody immediately and said the sentence takes into account that Gunderson had been unsuccessful in drug court, while providing rehabilitation and community safety.

Gunderson was initially sentenced in 2016, receiving a 3-year deferred sentence with a recommendation to the WATCh program, followed by five years of probation. (The WATCh program is an intensive incarcerated treatment program designed as a last chance for people with at least four DUI convictions who have previously been through treatment). At that time, Gunderson had already taken steps toward bettering her life, as she had been sober for 13 months and regained custody of her child.

THE CASE

According to court documents, Gunderson was stopped for speeding 59 mph in a 35 mph zone on Pike Avenue in Columbus in March 2015. Earlier in the night, there had been two 911 calls made about a possible drunk driver in the same vehicle.

Columbus Police Officer Gary Timm noted that Gunderson’s eyes were glassy and dilated and that there was a “very strong odor” of alcohol being emitted from Gunderson, according to court documents. Her BAC allegedly measured .189 on a portable Breathalyzer and a blood draw was later conducted at the Yellowstone County Detention Facility. Her child was released to her boyfriend.

Category: