Thursday, May 23, 2024
53.0°F

Columbia Falls high school student killed after car strikes home

by CHRIS PETERSON
Editor | April 26, 2019 11:49 AM

photo

Jared Allen Parsons

A bright, young, freshman at Columbia Falls High School was tragically killed in Evergreen April 26 after an alleged drunk driver plowed his pickup truck into her Evergreen home, killing her as she slept in her bed about 2:10 a.m.

The Flathead County Sheriff’s Department identified the girl as Erin Howk, 15, of Kalispell. The driver of the car, Jared Parsons, 31, of Kalispell was charged with vehicular homicide while under the influence, failure to remain at the scene of an accident and driving while his license was suspended.

At an initial court appearance on Monday, Parson’s bail was set at $500,000 by Justice of the Peace Eric Hummel.

The report narrative from the Highway Patrol trooper Eric Thoreson who responded to the call said Parsons was driving a 1999 Dodge Ram 1500 pickup, and was traveling west on Spring Creek Drive when Parsons veered off the south side of the street, struck a sign, some bushes and then the house. The truck went into the house as far as the driver’s side door, which, on that pickup, is about eight feet.

It’s unknown whether Parsons was wearing a seatbelt; he was not transported to the hospital, the report said. Roads were bare and dry at the time. No one else was injured, though the house was heavily damaged.

Parsons tried to flee the accident scene on foot, but family members got in a car and stopped Parsons before he could get away.

“He’s lucky I didn’t kill him. If I would have known my daughter was dead when I was assaulting him, I would have killed him. No question about it. I would have dealt with the consequences and would be OK with it,” said Chris Lakey after Parson’s court appearance. “Everyone makes mistakes, but damn, show some remorse. He didn’t look remorseful at all. He killed a 15-year-old child that had a bright future ahead of her. She loved school and she loved people. She would have given the shirt off her back to help anyone.”

Lakey, who is engaged to Howk’s mom, caught Parsons as Parsons attempted to flee.

First responders attempted CPR on Howk, but it was unsuccessful. Speed and alcohol are suspected factors in the crash, Thoreson said. He said further charges could be brought against Parsons.

Friends remembered Howk as a great girl.

“Erin Howk wasn’t just a friend, she was a sister and I loved her with everything I have,” Kaylee Smith, one of Howk’s best friends said in a message to the Hungry Horse News. “...I do want people to know how much of a confident beautiful person and how her personality could bring everybody together and put a smile on anyone’s face she always had a way of making jokes at the right time to make everyone crack up ... And make us all Stay Gold (Stay Gold was a saying she loved from the outsiders and used all the time).” Smith wrote.

A GoFundMe page has been set up to support Howk’s family at https://www.gofundme.com/erin-howk

Parsons is scheduled to be arraigned in Flathead County District Court May 23.