Arlee man pleads guilty to criminal endangerment
POLSON — An Arlee man admitted to his part in causing a traffic crash that injured three others. Jacob Riley Santos, 32, entered a plea of guilty at District Court in Polson on Oct. 7 to felony criminal endangerment.
According to court records, on March 20, just before noon, Montana Highway Patrol Trooper T. Cade Thompson responded to a report of a two-vehicle crash on U.S. Highway 93 in the Arlee area. There were reportedly multiple injuries and both vehicles involved in the crash were blocking traffic. At the scene Trooper Thompson observed a Ford Escort with heavy front end damage and a Toyota Rav 4 with heavy damage to the driver’s side rear quarter panel. A witness to the accident told Trooper Thompson that the Ford Escort “blew through a stop sign” failing to yield as it entered the highway hitting the northbound Toyota Rav 4 broadside. Santos was identified as the driver of the Ford Escort. Santos allegedly admitted to drinking and using methamphetamine prior to the crash. His passenger told the trooper that Santos had been drinking since the night before and was using the back roads to get home. The Ford Escort had no license plate. Santos had a revoked or suspended driver’s license and could not provide proof of insurance or a proper registration for the Ford Escort.
Prosecutor James Lapotka with the Lake County Attorney’s office says the plea agreement calls for the imposition of sentencing being deferred for six years, chemical dependency treatment and restitution to the victims.
The case was heard before Judge John W. Larson of Missoula via the Zoom platform. He set a sentencing hearing for Dec. 2.