East Glacier man sentenced in DUI death case

by Hungry Horse News
| June 17, 2020 7:02 AM

An East Glacier Park man convicted after a drunken driving crash killed one passenger and seriously injured a second passenger in Glacier National Park last year was sentenced earlier this month to 18 months in prison and three years of supervised release, U.S. Attorney Kurt Alme said.

After a three-day trial in February, a jury found Leo James Hagan, 20, guilty of involuntary manslaughter and of assault resulting in serious bodily injury. Chief U.S. District Judge Brian M. Morris presided.

The prosecution presented evidence at trial that the crash occurred on June 11, 2019, on Two Medicine Road, about 200 yards inside of Glacier National Park. Hagan and the two victims had been socializing at the Trailhead Saloon in East Glacier that night, and Hagan had consumed alcohol. The group left the saloon and traveled toward Two Medicine Lake, with Hagan driving a Ford Escape.

Hagan lost control of the vehicle, failed to negotiate a sharp left turn, went off the road and hit a tree. The vehicle spun and rolled and came to a rest on the driver’s side. The front seat passenger was ejected and suffered severe injuries. The rear seat passenger also was ejected, pinned under the vehicle and died at the scene.

Hagan left the scene on foot and called 911. He implied he had come upon the scene of a crash and was otherwise not involved. He reported seeing one injured person but not his involvement, the cause or that a passenger had died.

A Blackfeet Law Enforcement Services officer ultimately found Hagan at his residence at about 2:30 a.m. Hagan confirmed he had been in the crash and had been driving. A blood draw during the investigation determined that Hagan had a blood alcohol concentration of .093 percent more than four hours after the crash.

A crash investigation determined that the vehicle was traveling more than 70 mph in a 45 mph speed zone when it crashed, that the driver never applied the brakes and that neither Hagan nor the front seat passenger was wearing a seatbelt. Hagan had claimed he was wearing a seatbelt and had braked.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kalah Paisley and Ethan Plaut prosecuted the case, which was investigated by the National Park Service, Blackfeet Law Enforcement and Medical Services, the Glacier County Sheriff’s Office and the Montana Highway Patrol.