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Man pleads not guilty after car kills Montana home occupant
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Man pleads not guilty after car kills Montana home occupant

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An Arizona man who is accused of killing a person by driving his truck into a home in Montana entered a not guilty plea to one count of vehicular homicide while under the influence on Thursday.

Thomas Owen Lefevre, 21, could face up to 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $50,000 if he is convicted. He is expected to stand trial in January 2021.

Montana police found a white pickup truck inside a house on June 20. Lefevre, the driver, was found sitting in a chair in the living room "obviously impaired," police said. A woman at the home told police that the truck was driven into the house and through the bedroom where her husband, Ronald Dale Meier, was sleeping. Meier later died of his injuries.

Lefevre said in later interviews with police that he had been drinking and acknowledged that he "f-d up and should not have been driving." He agreed to provide a blood sample to measure his blood alcohol content a few hours after the accident. The results of the test haven't been made public.

The 21-year-old is also facing a wrongful death lawsuit filed by Meier's surviving family. Those filings claim Meier survived after the accident and suffered a painful, drawn-out death. The civil case is not expected to reach trial until some time in 2021.

Sean Hinchey, Lefevre's attorney, said his client has completed a chemical dependency treatment program and is continuing to receive treatment.

"(Lefevre) is heartbroken by what has happened," Hinchey said. "At the young age of 21, he now thinks about, and will continue to think about, Mr. Meier, Mr. Meier's family and the devastation he caused for the rest of his life."

Lefevre, who attends college in Arizona, was released on a $500,000 property bond in late June. His next court appearance is scheduled for Nov. 10.

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