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Attorney to plead guilty to felony criminal endangerment

by Scott Shindledecker
Daily Inter Lake | April 10, 2020 1:00 AM

A Kalispell attorney accused of driving drunk and crashing his vehicle with his son inside last spring is scheduled to enter a guilty plea relating to the alleged offense.

According to court documents, on March 11, James Thomas McCormack, 45, agreed to plead guilty to an amended charge of one felony count of criminal endangerment.

McCormack was scheduled to enter his plea April 8 in Flathead District Court, but the hearing was rescheduled for 1:30 p.m. May 29 in front of Judge Deborah Christopher.

McCormack was originally charged with felony criminal child endangerment.

Terms of the agreement indicate McCormack will receive a two-year deferred sentence. McCormack is free to change his plea in the event the judge doesn’t accept it.

According to court documents, McCormack was charged with the offense on June 25. The affidavit of probable cause filed by the Flathead County Attorney’s Office said a Montana Highway Patrol trooper responded to a single vehicle crash near 55 Many Lakes Drive at 5:34 p.m. Saturday, April 27, 2019.

The trooper saw a gray Honda Pilot in the ditch up against a tree and several emergency vehicles were at the scene and spoke with the driver of the Pilot, later identified as McCormack.

McCormack allegedly said “he came around the corner and ended up in the ditch.”

According to the complaint, McCormack’s 5-year-old son was in the vehicle at the time of the crash. The trooper said while speaking to McCormack, he smelled alcohol on his breath and saw that his eyes were red, watery and bloodshot.

The trooper said he noted signs of impairment during a standard field sobriety test.

Testing at the Montana State Crime Lab determined McCormack’s blood alcohol level was 0.228. The legal limit in Montana is 0.08.

According to the American Association of Premier DUI Attorneys, McCormack is listed in its directory. McCormack faced a maximum 10 years in the Montana State Prison and a fine of up to $50,000.

Scott Shindledecker may be reached at 758-4441 or sshindledecker@dailyinterlake.com.