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Mother, son accused in fatal wreck cover up

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POLSON — A St. Ignatius man is accused of driving drunk and causing a fatal car wreck, while his mother is accused of arranging to have her son picked up from the crash site before law enforcement could arrive.

Rope Kinkade Ardis, 19, entered a plea of not guilty at District Court in Polson on Nov. 3 to felony vehicular homicide while under the influence. His mother Roberta Virginia Asencio, 40, entered a plea of not guilty to felony tampering with witnesses or informants.

According to court records, on Jan. 23, Lake County emergency services were paged out to a report of a one vehicle rollover on Back Road south of Polson. At the scene Montana Highway Patrol Trooper Aaron Day observed that a 2006 Ford Mustang, registered to Ardis, had left the roadway and rolled. Ardis was no longer at the scene, but his mother Roberta Asencio was. One passenger was being treated by an ambulance crew. Another passenger, Saul Blackweasel, died at the scene. Asencio allegedly claimed that she did not know where Ardis was. A wallet and identification card belonging to Ardis was found near the wrecked Mustang. It turned out that another person had picked up Ardis at the crash site and transported him to a relative’s house, then later to St. Luke Hospital in Ronan. While being questioned by law enforcement at the hospital, Ardis admitted to consuming alcohol, but claimed to not know who was driving. Phone records show that Ardis had called relatives right after the crash, but did not call 911 to report the crash or seek aid for Blackweasel. Forensic testing showed Ardis’s DNA on the deployed airbag of the Mustang’s steering wheel. It’s the belief of Lake County Attorney Steve Eschenbacher that Roberta Asencio arranged to have her son picked up at the crash site and taken away.

Judge James Manley set a trial date of April 4 for both mother and son.

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