Blog Cabin

Entries in Lake County news (4)


Study recommends more work on Lake County Jail problems

(POLSON)- With crime rates and adult arrests climbing, a new study suggests Lake County leaders should renew efforts to develop plans for building a new jail. 

The report, requested by Sheriff Don Bell and prepared by the National Institute of Corrections, is aimed at helping the county re-boot plans to deal with the aging jail and overcrowding. 

The report, conducted in November, found serious violent crimes had declined in Lake County between 2007 and 2011, averaging 55-crimes per 1000 residents. But since then, the crime rate has soared to 73-crimes per 1000, driven largely by substance abuse. In fact, over 51-percent of the inmates were in custody because of alcohol and drugs. The authors say longer jail stays in recent years have also pushed the 46-bed facility to hold as many as 100 inmates, a number that's been limited by court orders. 

The report also found many of the building elements at the Lake County Jail "pose safety and security risks" with portions of the building that are "out-of-date and dysfunctional." 

The report recommends Lake County leaders should continue discussions about building a new jail, reorganizing the Justice System Coordinating Council to head the effort. And the authors say those talks should lead to a formal needs assessment, visiting other similar size jails to see what's possible.

At the same time, the report recommends Lake County use more community "sanctioning and supervision" programs for inmates to ease pressure on the existing jail. 


One killed in Mission Valley plane crash

(RONAN)- Federal investigators are expected to be on scene this morning to begin looking into the cause of Tuesday's small plane crash that killed one man in the Mission Valley.

The Lake County Sheriff's Office says the crash happened about 4:30 p.m. when the plane crashed into a hillside northwest of Ronan. Emergency crews had a difficult time reaching the scene but when they arrived they found the pilot was deceased. The man who was a passenger was airlifted to Kalispell Regional Medical Center and there's been no update on his condition. 

Names of the pilot and the passenger haven't been released until their families are notified. 

The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board have been notified and the NTSB investigator will arrive in the morning from Portland, OR.  The body of the pilot was transported to the State Crime Lab in Missoula for autopsy in accordance with FAA standard requirements.  

The plane was a two seater tandem Piper aircraft.  Although the flight plan is unknown at this time, it is believed that the flight originated out of the Polson airport.


Few details in newspaper editor's arrest 

Michelle Lovato/Lake County Leader(POLSON)- Details are still sketchy on what happened when a Polson newspaper editor was handcuffed while trying to take pictures for his paper at an accident scene. 

The Daily Interlake reports Vince Lovato from the Lake County Leader was arrested at the scene of a head-on crash near Polson last week by a Montana Highway Patrol trooper. The state says the Lake County Attorney's office is handling the investigation of Lovato's arrest on charges of obstructing an officer, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. 

Photographing news events, including accident scenes is protected by the First Amendment, however there are occasional conflicts between the press and police over what those rights entail. 


Teen pleads guilty to charges in Arlee stabbing attacks

Butler during a court appearance last fall- KPAX TV photo(POLSON)- The 17-year old accused of fatally stabbing his stepfather and hurting his mother and another man last year has pled guilty to charges in Lake County District Court. 

Prosecutors had accused Butler of ambushing his mother, Dacia Marie Vollin, as she entered his bedroom with a knife taken from the kitchen at their home in Arlee last fall. Authorities said he then attacked and fatally stabbed 51-year old John Fisher with a second knife when he came to Vollin’s aide. Deputies say Butler stabbed Fisher repeatedly until the blade of the knife snapped off, then stabbed roommate Theodore Perry with a pocket knife when he tried to intervene. 

The Lake County Leader reports Butler appeared in a Polson courtroom Wednesday and pled guilty to one count of deliberate homicide, one count of attempted deliberate homicide and also assault with a weapon.

His sentencing has been set for September 18th.