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House arrest included in 20-year sentence

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A St. Ignatius woman has admitted to causing a traffic accident that killed another motorist. Darlene Lesage, 67, pleaded guilty at District Court in Polson on July 15 to vehicular homicide while under the influence. 

The plea was entered as part of an agreement that calls for Lesage being sentenced to the Montana Department of corrections for 20 years with all but six months of house arrest suspended.

According to court records, on Sept. 11, 2020, Montana Highway Patrol Trooper Wayne Bieber responded to a serious car wreck along U.S. Highway 93 in the Ravalli area. A northbound black Mazda had drifted into the southbound lane and struck a car head-on. 

A witness told Bieber that the Mazda was swerving in and out of its lane prior to the collision. The driver of the Mazda, later identified as Lesage, was seriously injured and unconscious when transported to an area hospital. A blood draw, taken at the hospital where Lesage was being treated, showed her blood alcohol content at .122. 

The driver of the southbound car was airlifted to a hospital in Missoula and later flown to a hospital in Seattle, and the victim died from the injuries on Oct. 2, 2020.

District Judge Deborah “Kim” Christopher set sentencing for Sept. 16. The judge is not bound by the agreement.

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