Missoula police won't identify woman who hit, killed teen on Mullan

2013-04-18T05:45:00Z 2014-01-17T06:46:15Z Missoula police won't identify woman who hit, killed teen on Mullan missoulian.com

The Missoula Police Department’s investigation into the death of Chance Geery awaits the results of toxicology tests performed on the woman whose car struck and killed the 18-year-old Hellgate High School athlete.

“At the present time, the investigation has come to somewhat of a standstill,” Chief Mark Muir said Wednesday. “But as soon as those toxicology reports return, I believe we will be able to forward the investigation to the county attorney’s office.”

Geery and his girlfriend, Gabby Rosier, were walking hand-in-hand on the sidewalk along Mullan Road on April 1 when a car swerved onto the sidewalk and struck him. Investigators said initially that the driver was distracted, and that neither alcohol, drugs nor texting appeared to be factors.

The woman, who is Korean, was “distraught, upset, heartbroken, terrified,” after the accident, said Rosier.

Muir described her as “a relatively newly licensed driver, despite being an adult. She had not been a licensed driver here in Montana for that long.”

He said a police department investigator spoke with the woman Tuesday and that “to the best of our knowledge,” she remains in the United States.

“She has been absolutely 100 percent cooperative” with the police investigation, he said.

However, Muir would not release the woman’s name or any information about how or why she was distracted at the time of the accident.

It is department policy not to name a suspect until the person is charged, he said. The Missoula County Attorney’s Office will decide what, if any, charges are filed in the case, but Muir said they are likely to be minor.

“We’re not aware of any pending real charge along the lines of negligent vehicular assault or negligent vehicular homicide,” he said. “I do know one thing – any charging decision hinges upon the outcome of the toxicology.”

Such tests typically take a week to 10 days, he said. “The Crime Lab has a backlog, so I’m not sure how long that will take.”

Geery, a defensive lineman for the Hellgate Knights football team who was named to the 2012 Class AA all-state team, was pronounced dead at St. Patrick Hospital about 20 minutes after the accident.

Rosier said she’s fine with the deliberate pace of the investigation. “I’m not angry. I understand that accidents happen. It was sad. Eventually, time will tell” what really happened, she said.

Missoulian reporter Gwen Florio can be reached at 523-5268, gwen.florio@missoulian.com, or @CopsAndCourts.

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