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A Missoula man pleads not guilty to killing 2 in drunken crash

A Missoula man stands accused of having ousted the driver of one of the Testicle Festival's guest shuttles in a drunken fit at the beginning of August. On Tuesday, Aug. 22, he had his first day in court.

It's during those proceedings at the Missoula District Courthouse that the man was arraigned on six criminal endangerment counts and two negligent homicide charges. At the hearing, the man pleaded not guilty to the charges that have been waged against him.

According to witness statements taken in the case, the man had been previously kicked out of the festival on Aug. 5 for undisclosed reasons. It's after the man had been placed back on the shuttle to be returned to Missoula that he allegedly took over the Jeep that was being used to transport attendees. Soon thereafter, he reportedly crashed it.

When law enforcement arrived at the crash scene, they performed a Breathalyzer test on the man. His blood alcohol concentration (BAC) reportedly registered .209, nearly three times the legal limit in the state.

Both a 33-year-old female and a 36-year-old male, each of which had been riding on the shuttle at the time, lost their lives in the crash. As many as six others were critically wounded.

In the two weeks prior to this incident, the same judge in this case had extended a deferred sentence offer to the man for having assaulted his minor nephew back in December of 2016. At the man's most recent arraignment on these new charges, he denied that he'd violated the terms of his participation in the alternative sentencing program. One of the requirements he was supposed to follow was to not to consume alcohol.

The judge imposed a $200,000 bail at the arraignment hearing. He's scheduled to appear in court next on Oct. 10.

Both distracted and drunk driving have become the two most common reasons that fatal car crashes occur. If you've lost a loved one in a motor vehicle accident in which the other driver was believed to have been intoxicated at the time, then you may benefit from discussing the circumstances surrounding the crash with a Belgrade, Montana, personal injury attorney.

Source: Missoulian, "Man pleads not guilty to Testy Fest shuttle crash that killed two," Dillon Kato, Aug. 29, 2017

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