Whitefish man pleads not guilty to vehicular homicide

Print Article

A Whitefish man pleaded not guilty to felony vehicular homicide while under the influence of drugs, in Flathead District Court on Sept. 7.

Dillon Johnson, 21, was charged in the incident more than a year after his passenger, a 17-year-old Bigfork girl, died from injuries sustained in a crash.

The charge stems from a July 3, 2016 one-vehicle crash on U.S. 93 South where a sport utility vehicle rolled off the roadway near the Flathead Valley Cowboy Church. The driver of the vehicle was identified as Johnson and its passenger as Madison Duke.

According to court documents, Montana Highway Patrol Trooper Josh Nanna conducted a crash-scene investigation and determined that the vehicle had drifted off the right side of the road, striking a delineator post (a reflective roadside marker). The vehicle reportedly continued to drive off-road, parallel to the highway, for several hundred feet before it abruptly steered to the left and crossed southbound lanes, then over-corrected to the right causing the vehicle to roll — driver’s side first — at least four times before coming to rest.

Other motorists pulled Johnson and Duke from the vehicle as it caught fire. Johnson reportedly collapsed after walking a short distance and was transported to the hospital. Duke was unconscious and badly injured. Despite receiving emergency medical assistance, she died from blunt-force trauma.

Duke would have been a senior at Bigfork High School in the fall of 2016.

Johnson was briefly questioned at the hospital and said he couldn’t remember the crash, court documents state. Blood drawn from Johnson and analyzed by Montana State Crime Lab showed concentrations of methamphetamine, amphetamine and metabolized THC (tetrahydrocannabinol).

Following his investigation, Nanna concluded that Johnson drove “in a careless, inattentive manner and his ability to drive safely was diminished due to his recent drug use,” on the basis that there was full visibility and no precipitation or defects on the road that would have caused or contributed to the crash court documents state.

A jury trial is set for Feb. 26, 2018. If convicted, Johnson could face a maximum 30-year prison sentence and fine of $50,000.

Reporter Hilary Matheson may be reached at 758-4431 or hmatheson@dailyinterlake.com.

Print Article

Read More Local News

New Libby asbestos team has first meeting

September 21, 2017 at 7:26 pm | Daily Inter Lake On Wednesday, the Libby Asbestos Superfund Advisory Team held its first quarterly meeting in Helena. The Environmental Protection Agency has been cleaning up the former vermiculite mining community...

Comments

Read More

Libby woman survives wrath of hurricanes Irma, Maria

September 21, 2017 at 7:04 pm | Daily Inter Lake Three hurricanes have pummeled North America in the past six weeks and Libby native Sarah Crill has seen more than her fair share of the devastation. She and her boyfriend Nate Apolito weathered hurr...

Comments

Read More

Quilter’s Guild features Somers’ Dawn Siden

September 21, 2017 at 5:00 am | Daily Inter Lake Dawn Siden’s quilts are like her children — she loves each one equally, but for different reasons. There is the miniature square quilt with intricate stitching and pieces no larger than a dime. It ...

Comments

Read More

Kalispell Alzheimer’s walk set for this weekend

September 21, 2017 at 3:56 pm | Daily Inter Lake Deanna McElwee knew something was wrong. She was helping her father, Gene Boyle, a long-time educator and athletic director, set up for a track meet at Flathead High School. As he pulled a tape meas...

Comments

Read More

Contact Us

(406) 755-7000
727 East Idaho
Kalispell, MT 59901

©2017 Daily Inter Lake Terms of Use Privacy Policy
X
X