Man Pleads Innocent to Two Counts of Vehicular Assault
Flathead County, Montana- The Daily Inter Lake reports that a man from Whitefish offered a plea of not guilty to two counts of negligent vehicular assault. James Bowling French, Jr., 56, faced the allegations in Flathead County District Court on Thursday, August 2, 2018. The criminal charges stem from an indecent that happened in July where French, Jr. allegedly ran two people from Marietta, Georgia over with his car.*
Law enforcement officers allege that he drove while under the influence of alcohol in Whitefish on July 14, 2018. The statement of probable cause filed by Whitefish Police states that officers received a dispatch to Baker Avenue on July 14 for a motor vehicle crash involving a Mustang GT.
Upon arrival, officers found the husband and wife pedestrians suffering from critical, life-threatening injuries. Officers found the male pedestrian impaled on a tree. Officers found his wife approximately 20 feet away, in a ditch off of the side of the road. Additionally, the officers found the Mustang perched at a 45-degree angle balancing on the guardrail.
Witnesses say that French Jr. seemingly drove at the pedestrians and was speeding in their direction. The car’s impact with the pedestrians propelled them into the air, according to witness statements.
Police interviewed French Jr. He told police had been drinking alcohol before driving. He told police he was on his way to a restaurant in Whitefish when the crash happened. French Jr. also said saw the pedestrians mere moments before hitting them. He said lost control over his car before he crashed into them. Police arrested French Jr. after they observed signs of alcohol impairment such as bloodshot, glassy eyes, and present was the odor of alcohol. Officers brought him to a local hospital to have his blood drawn. The blood tests showed he was over the 0.08 legal limits in Montana.
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