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Minnesota man pleads guilty to 2019 DUI homicide

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

A Minnesota man accused of driving drunk and killing two Flathead Valley women last summer will plead guilty to two counts of vehicular homicide.

Mason David Drake, 24, entered into a plea deal Monday, July 27, in Flathead County District Court.

According to court documents, Drake’s plea agreement calls for a total of 40 years, 20 suspended, in the Montana State Prison. He had faced a total of 60 years.

Drake is scheduled to appear in court at 9:30 a.m. Monday, Aug. 17, for the change of plea hearing. A date for his sentencing has not been set yet.

Charging documents indicated Drake’s truck crossed into the oncoming lane of travel near midnight July 4, 2019, on Montana 35 east of Kalispell.

The truck collided head-on with a smaller pickup truck, killing 59-year-old Alice Barten and her daughter, Katie Barten, 31.

Drake spent time in the hospital before returning home to Lanesboro, Minnesota. Drake was working as a firefighter for the U.S. Forest Service during the summer of 2019.

An investigation by a trooper with the Montana Highway Patrol showed Drake’s blood-alcohol level at .136%, well above Montana’s legal limit of 0.08.

Witnesses to the accident reported having to swerve to avoid the truck Drake was driving because it had entered their lane of travel. One of the witnesses said she turned around and watched Drake’s truck cross the center line and hit another vehicle.

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