NewsCrime and Courts


Suspect accused of driving the wrong way on highway, endangering other drivers

Andres Mejia-Ocampo in court (November 27, 2023)
Posted at 2:53 PM, Nov 27, 2023
and last updated 2023-11-27 18:16:17-05

BOZEMAN — Andres Mejia-Ocampo, accused of driving the wrong way on Interstate 90 in Bozeman, was arrested on suspicion of driving while intoxicated after passing dozens other vehicles on Friday, November 24, 2023.

Mejia-Ocampo, 21 years old, appeared in Gallatin County Justice Court on Monday, facing 37 counts of criminal endangerment and one count of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs (first offense).

Court documents say around 11 p.m. on Friday, a Montana Highway Patrol trooper heard on the police scanner that a wrong-way driver was westbound in the eastbound lanes of I-90 near the 19th Avenue exit in Bozeman.

The responding MHP trooper saw Mejia-Ocampo from the on-ramp, traveling in the wrong direction.

According to court documents, the trooper used the authorized-vehicle-only turnaround to change directions and attempt to get ahead of Mejia-Ocampo. The trooper reported seeing a white Jeep on its roof in the median of I-90 as he made the turnaround and radioed for backup to assist at the crash location.

No information about the passengers in the Jeep has been released.

The trooper reportedly continued in the westbound lanes and observed the wrong-way driver continuing at a high rate of speed around mile marker 298. The trooper again turned around about a mile ahead of Mejia-Ocampo and began driving in S curves across both eastbound lanes to warn other drivers and get Mejia-Ocampo's attention.

The trooper said in court documents that Mejia-Ocampo continued in the wrong direction until the trooper "went head on with [Mejia-Ocampo] in the passing lane and he finally came to a stop" within feet of the trooper.

According to the trooper, Mejia-Ocampo looked visibly intoxicated and smelled strongly of alcohol as the trooper secured his vehicle and placed him in handcuffs. Officers with Belgrade Police and Manhattan Police arrived at the scene, along with the Gallatin County Sheriff's Office. Law enforcement briefly shut down the interstate to move Mejia-Ocampo's vehicle to the right shoulder.

Court documents say a breath test showed Mejia-Ocampo's blood alcohol level to be 0.148, almost twice the legal limit of .08.

The trooper said Mejia-Ocampo drove in the wrong direction for at least eight miles, passing 37 cars and trucks, as shown on law enforcement dash cam video. He was arrested and taken to the Gallatin County Detention Center.

In court on Monday, prosecutors opted not to charge Mejia-Ocampo for driving under the influence, first offense, which is a misdemeanor in Montana. He is charged with 37 felony counts of criminal endangerment, as well as failure to obey traffic control devices and driving the wrong way.

Mejia-Ocampo's next court appearance is scheduled for December 15, 2023.