Butte residents discuss Rob O'Neill DUI arrest
BUTTE, Mont. - According to Butte-Silver Bow Undersheriff George Skuletich, former Navy SEAL Rob O'Neill was arrested for DUI early Friday morning. Police say O'Neill was found sleeping in the driver's seat in a blue 2005 Nissan Sentra at the Town Pump station at 531 S. Montana St. at 2:30 a.m. Officials said the car was running at the time, and officers had to open the door of the car to wake him up. Skuletich said O'Neill refused a breath and blood alcohol test after failing an initial field sobriety test.
O'Neill released a statement Friday evening: "The facts are that I took a prescribed sleep aide to help with long-standing severe insomnia. While the timing was bad and I highly regret this decision, I am innocent of the charge and have entered a plea of Not Guilty. I am confident I will soon be cleared of this matter. I would also like to express my appreciation to the Butte Police Department for their professionalism and courtesy."
"His demeanor was fine. He wasn't argumentative or anything like that. He appeared to be confused, so the officer determined with the failure of the horizontal gaze nystagmus test and his confusion, they took him to jail for possible DUI," Skuletich said. O'Neill was a member of the Navy SEAL Team Six which led the attack on Osama bin Laden in Pakistan, in which bin Laden was killed. The last time Butte police talked with NBC Montana about O'Neill was in 2015, when the terrorist group ISIS reportedly threatened him and his family after he went public with his claim he shot and killed bin Laden. U. S. military leaders didn't like his talking about it, but most in Butte told NBC Montana they did. Police said after he failed the initial field sobriety test, he refused a breath and blood alcohol test and was immediately taken into custody. "Everybody drinks, especially in Butte, and I don't think that it's all that big of a deal. It's not like he's doing it all the time and he wasn't really driving," said Butte resident Ray Doolittle. "I don't think it is a big deal. It was a mistake that he made. He's going to have to learn from it," said another Butte resident, Robert James. "As far as we're concerned, he's just a person that made a mistake and was arrested for DUI," said Skuletich. Others said it could have been much worse. "He could have been driving down the road. He could have killed a family. Anybody; someone's mom, dad, sister, brother, anybody," said Butte resident Cassie Fletcher. Montana law states that it is against the law to drive or to be in actual physical control of a vehicle while under the influence. O'Neill was released on a $685 bond at 4:26 a.m. Friday and is charged with misdemeanor DUI. Butte-Silver Bow Sheriff Ed Lester released this statement Friday morning: "I have great respect for Rob O'Neill and what he has done for our country. That being said, this incident was handled the same way as any other DUI investigation. Mr. O'Neill has the same presumption of innocence as any other citizen. We will let the county attorney and the court proceed from this point." O'Neill is scheduled to speak at Montana State University Monday evening