Saturday, May 28, 2022

California streaker freed after plea deal

Daily Inter Lake | October 26, 2021 12:00 AM

A California man accused of exposing himself and driving drunk during separate incidents this summer is free after cutting a deal with prosecutors.

Daniel Weston Morton, 57, was released Tuesday, Oct. 19, from the Flathead County Detention Center.

According to court documents, Morton pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor count of driving under the influence and two misdemeanor counts of indecent exposure.

Morton was released after Flathead District Court Judge Amy Eddy sentenced him to 180 days in the county jail on each count, to be served concurrently. He was given credit for time served of 155 days and then released.

Morton was ordered to complete an alcohol treatment program and not have any contact with the victims.

Charges of threatening a police officer, assault and others were dismissed.

Morton was first arrested and jailed in early May after local authorities said he exposed himself to a number of people and assaulted others at a local hotel.

Less than two weeks later, Morton found trouble again and was back in the Flathead County Detention Center on June 20.

After his first arrest, Morton allegedly said he was from California and public nudity was not considered scandalous behavior. Morton posted bail on June 8.

Then, on June 19, a Montana Highway Patrol trooper reported he was driving east on U.S. 2 in Columbia Falls when he heard a vehicle behind him honking its horn. The officer saw a gray vehicle behind him speeding and weaving in and out of traffic without using its turn signals.

The officer also reported the vehicle approached him, changed lanes and suddenly braked hard two vehicles behind the officer. After traffic had passed, the vehicle Morton allegedly was driving pulled over the right shoulder next to the trooper.

According to the trooper, Morton got out of his vehicle and walked toward the officer. The officer said Morton slurred his words, stumbled and he had bloodshot eyes. The officer also reported smelling alcohol and marijuana on Morton.

When the trooper asked Morton twice if he had been drinking, the man allegedly said he had drunk some beer. During field sobriety tests, Morton reportedly told the officer he would give him $50 if he didn’t take him to jai.

After the trooper arrested Morton, the accused man allegedly threatened to kill the trooper, his family and other law enforcement officers.

At the jail, a breath test indicated Morton’s blood alcohol level was 0.171, more than twice the legal limit. A records check indicated Morton had two prior DUIs, including one in 2004 and one on Jan. 28, 2021.

According to the charging document in the May 3 incident, a hotel employee called 911 to report a man, later identified as Morton, running around the pool area naked and assaulting guests.

When an officer from Kalispell Police Department spoke to the employee, she said Morton used the pool and hot tub while naked. She confronted him and he allegedly shoved her into an ATM in the hotel lobby.

The officer also spoke to a man who was bleeding from the nose. The man said he was using the pool area with his grandchildren, ages 9 and 11, when he saw Morton enter the area and take off all his clothes. The grandfather said he confronted Morton and told him he was being inappropriate.

The grandfather said Morton punched him in the face and pushed him against the wall.

Reporter Scott Shindledecker may be reached at 758-4441 or