North Idaho

Idaho man had police encounters before Mont. crash

SANDPOINT, Idaho - Police in northern Idaho say a Sandpoint man appears to have been having a mental health crises in the months leading up to a fatal crash in southwestern Montana.

The Montana Highway Patrol says 41-year-old Christopher M. Kepler was traveling westbound in the eastbound lanes of Interstate 90 shortly after noon on Jan. 8 when his sport utility vehicle struck a pickup truck just west of Garrison. The collision killed 57-year-old Patricia Graves and injured her husband.

Kepler is charged with negligent homicide and criminal endangerment, and is being held at the Powell County Jail with bail set at $500,000.

The Bonner County Daily Bee reports Kepler was taken into protective custody by authorities in northern Idaho in early November when they determined he was having a mental health episode. He was later released.