BILLINGS - A man is facing two felony assault with a weapon charges accusing him of ramming a vehicle driven by his wife, injuring both her and their 4-year-old son, in August.
After posting $25,000 bond, 44-year-old Robert Eugene Wright appeared Monday on the charges in Yellowstone County Justice Court.
The charges stem from an Aug. 15 crash on U.S. Highway 87 East near Maier Road, where investigators found a green car that was nearly totaled, according to charging documents.
The victims, a 40-year-old mother and her young son, were taken to St. Vincent Healthcare for treatment, court records say.
The woman reported that she lost control while trying to avoid hitting a deer; however, investigators with Montana Highway Patrol determined this was inconsistent with their observations of the crash scene and car.
After receiving a tip that the woman’s husband may have been involved, troopers located his pickup and saw that it had green paint transfer on its bumper.
A trooper spoke with Wright — who is registered in Yellowstone County as a violent offender for a domestic assault conviction — and he said that he and his wife had been in an argument and she had left with their son, according to prosecutors.
Wright reported he followed after his wife, briefly looked down for his glasses in the center console, looked up and “all he remembered seeing was taillights,” charging documents say.
He said he didn’t realize he had hit his wife’s car until he stopped and saw the damage to his truck. He also reported he didn’t go back to investigate because he didn’t think the crash was very bad.
Wright discussed texting and calling his wife, but declined to show a trooper his phone, which prompted the trooper to get a search warrant for Wright’s pickup and cellphone.
Text conversations recovered through the search warrant showed that the victim had texted Wright, telling him he had tried to kill her and their son, which he denied, saying that his brakes had slipped, charging documents state.
Wright is scheduled to enter pleas to the charges in Yellowstone County District Court on Dec. 16.