A young Frenchtown man who was a passenger in a fatal crash a year ago was himself killed early Sunday morning when the car in which he was riding wrecked on Missoula’s Hillview Way.
Jason McDonald, 20, was thrown from the vehicle and was dead at the scene, according to the Missoula County Sheriff’s Office.
Three other men, ages 18, 20 and 21, were seriously injured in the 3:15 a.m. crash and remained hospitalized on Monday, according to Missoula Police Detective Sgt. Bob Bouchee. One is listed in critical condition at St. Patrick Hospital.
The car in which they were riding was going at least 80 mph – “far too great for that corner. It can’t be taken at that speed,” said Montana Highway Patrol Trooper Andrew Novak. The car slid off the road, hit a “pedestrian crossing” sign, and rolled, he said.
Almost exactly one week earlier, at 3:06 a.m. Feb. 26, a car went off a different section of Hillview, missing a house by inches, police said. Montana Grizzly linebacker Brian Maus was charged with misdemeanor driving under the influence in connection with that crash.
Alcohol and speed were factors in the most recent crash, and charges are pending against the driver, Bouchee said.
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Last Feb. 20, McDonald was a passenger in a car driven by Joshua Jacob-Allen Thielbar when it struck a car driven by Rachel Millhouse, 22.
Police estimated Thielbar’s car was traveling 80 mph down Brooks Street when Millhouse’s vehicle rolled through a stop sign at Dore Lane. She died at the scene. McDonald was seriously injured in that accident and was flown to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle for treatment, according to charging documents filed against Thielbar.
Thielbar, 22, pleaded guilty in July to vehicular homicide while under the influence. He originally received a 20-year suspended sentence. But after he violated the terms of his probation, Missoula County District Judge John Larson imposed the 20-year sentence with 10 of those suspended, and mandated that he spend five years in prison before becoming eligible for parole.
Missoula County Sheriff’s Detective Jason Johnson said that since Jan. 1, sheriff’s deputies and Missoula police have arrested 193 people for driving under the influence, and that six people have died in alcohol-related crashes.
Missoulian reporter Gwen Florio can be reached at 523-5268, email@example.com, or on Twitter @CopsAndCourts.