Store Owner Follows DUI Suspect - KULR-8 Television, Billings, MT

Store Owner Follows DUI Suspect

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A convenience store owner near Downtown Billings made a split-second decision Wednesday, and in the process, could have saved lives on Billings roads.

"The guy just drove up in front of the store, and kinda stumbled out of his pickup." said Joe Hoerster, a store clerk at Broadwater Quick Stop on 10th Street West and Broadwater Avenue, recounting what happened close to 5 p.m Wednesday.

The person Joe described was 48-year-old Fernando Lionel Beauchene. Joe and his employer, owner Duane Young, noticed something wasn't quite right with Beauchene.

"Overly drunk. His eyes were bloodshot, his speech was impaired. He was a little rowdy." said Duane.

Besides tobacco, Duane said Beauchene tried to buy beer. Joe, however, refused to sell.

"They come in the store, and they look like they've had enough, we won't sell it to them." said Joe.

Beauchene then reportedly got into his car, and started to drive.

"The fact that he got into a vehicle changed the whole game." said Duane. After a short talk with Joe, they decided to take action. Joe called police while Duane followed the allegedly drunk Beauchene, in his own car.

"He was on the sidewalk, on the curb, back in the street. When he negotiated his last turn successfully, he was on the wrong side of the road." said Duane.

Eventually, Billings Police caught up with Beauchene, and arrested him. Beauchene is facing a felony count of DUI, and a misdemeanor count of driving on a suspended license.

According to court documents obtained by KULR-8 News, Beauchene has six prior DUI convictions in Indiana, Montana, and Florida, ranging from 1989 to 2011. Beauchene also has an outstanding arrest warrant on a DUI charge in California.

Duane and Joe said they took charge, because they want people to drink responsibly.

"If you're gonna drink, get a designated driver in line." said Duane.

"There's a lot of people that don't drink, and they like to be safe on the streets." said Joe.