Alleged drunk driver hits 2 pedestrians in downtown Whitefish

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  • Whitefish first responders attended to the scene of a crash on Baker Avenue in Whitefish on Saturday evening. The driver of the vehicle was charged with DUI and vehicular assault after allegedly hitting two pedestrians. (Nelson Roosendahl photo)

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    Whitefish first responders attended to the scene of a crash on Baker Avenue in Whitefish on Saturday evening. The driver of the vehicle was charged with DUI and vehicular assault after allegedly hitting two pedestrians. (Nelson Roosendahl photo)

  • Whitefish first responders attended to the scene of a crash on Baker Avenue in Whitefish on Saturday evening. The driver of the vehicle was charged with DUI and vehicular assault after allegedly hitting two pedestrians. (Nelson Roosendahl photo)

  • 1

  • 2

    Whitefish first responders attended to the scene of a crash on Baker Avenue in Whitefish on Saturday evening. The driver of the vehicle was charged with DUI and vehicular assault after allegedly hitting two pedestrians. (Nelson Roosendahl photo)

A couple from Marietta, Georgia was rushed to the hospital with serious injuries Saturday evening after an allegedly drunk driver lost control of his vehicle and struck both pedestrians in downtown Whitefish.

According to Whitefish Police Chief Bill Dial, 56-year-old Jim French Jr. of Whitefish was arrested and charged with aggravated DUI, negligent vehicular assault and reckless driving after allegedly hitting the couple and knocking them over an embankment on Baker Avenue. French was being held at the Flathead County Jail on Monday.

Driving a 2012 Mustang GT, French reportedly accelerated rapidly through heavy traffic from 8th Street West into the northbound lane of Baker where he slid out of control at around 5:45 p.m.

The car struck both husband, 54, and wife, 55, impaling the husband on a willow tree branch 15 feet off the ground. The wife was found on the grass below the tree.

Dial said witnesses corroborated the account.

Dial said both the man and woman suffered severe injuries.

The accident scene was temporarily shut down Monday as Montana Highway Patrol officers conducted an investigation.

Reporter Mary Cloud Taylor can be reached at 758-4459 or mtaylor@dailyinterlake.com.

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