Man gets 10 years suspended for crime

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A 34-year-old Columbia Falls man was given a 10-year suspended sentence Thursday after pleading guilty to negligent homicide.

David Elmer was the driver of a car involved in a two-vehicle crash at the intersection of U.S. 2 and Jellison Lane at 10 a.m. on June 24, 2010. The driver of the motorcycle involved in the crash was pronounced dead at the scene.

A court document states that when a trooper with the Montana Highway Patrol spoke with Elmer, he told the trooper that he pulled out onto the highway and there was a sudden “explosion” in the car as his airbags deployed. He said he had looked both ways and didn’t see anyone coming.

Driving conditions at the time were reported to be nominal — sunny, 68 degrees and only a slight wind at 2.3 miles per hour.

A court document also states that a blood sample taken from Elmer and analyzed at the Montana State Crime Lab revealed he had THC — the psychoactive compound in marijuana — in his system at the time of the crash.

The suspended sentence, levied by District Judge Ted Lympus, was part of a plea agreement. That agreement also stipulates that if Elmer complies with all the steps required, including maintaining proper insurance, he may have his license reinstated.

Reporter Jesse Davis may be reached at 758-4441 or by email at jdavis@dailyinterlake.com.

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