From the Great Falls Tribune Oct. 7, 2014

Eric Dietrich, [email protected]

The editor of a weekly Montana newspaper was arrested last week by a Montana Highway Patrol trooper while reportedly taking pictures of a non-fatal crash on Montana Highway 35 near Flathead Lake.

Vince Lovato, 53, the editor of Polson’s Lake County Leader, was arrested Wednesday and is accused of three misdemeanor charges, the Lake County Sheriff’s Office said Monday: obstructing a peace officer, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. An initial court appearance is set for Oct. 15, and Lake County Undersheriff Dan Yonkin said that Lovato had been booked and released at the county jail.

According to tickets issued by MHP Trooper Anthony Isabell, Lovato was cited for, “disobeying lawful commands inside crime scene boundaries,” “screaming obscenities while being arrested” and “not following commands, pulling away and attempting to escape,” Lake County Justice Court staff said Monday.

A spokesperson for Attorney General Tim Fox, whose office oversees MHP, referred inquiries to Lake County Attorney Mitch Young, who has also not returned a call.

Reached at the Lake County Leader office Monday, Lovato referred an inquiry about the incident to Daily Inter Lake publisher Rick Weaver. Weaver declined to comment beyond referencing the Daily Inter Lake’s coverage, which reported that Lovato was taking pictures of one of the two vehicles involved in the wreck when he was arrested. His wife Michelle, a reporter for the paper, was also at the scene.

Both the Lake County Leader and Daily Inter Lake are owned by the Coeur d’Alene, Idaho-based Hagadone Corporation.

The Inter Lake also reported that details about the incident remain vague because attorneys for both sides in the case have advised their clients to not speak to the press.

Lovato has been a journalist for 33 years and was hired as editor of the Leader earlier this year.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. Reach Staff Writer Eric Dietrich at 791-6527 or [email protected]. He can also be followed on Twitter at @GFTrib_EricD.