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Lesage’s sentence reduced

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POLSON — A St. Ignatius woman who admitted to causing a traffic accident that killed another motorist has a chance to avoid prison. Darlene Lesage, 68, pleaded guilty at District Court in Polson on July 15, 2021 to vehicular homicide while under the influence. The plea was entered as part of an agreement that called for Lesage being sentenced to the Montana Department of corrections for 20 years with all but six months of house arrest suspended. Citing Lesage’s actions since the crash occurred, past service to her country as well as community, Judge Deborah “Kim” Christopher ordered 10 days jail time instead of the six months house arrest during her sentencing hearing April 7.

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 southbound car head-on. A witness told Trooper 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. That person died of their injuries Oct. 2, 2020.

While holding back his tears and having read sealed documents regarding Lesage’s past, the husband of the victim thanked Lesage for her service to our country and to her service to others, and said he forgives her.

Lesage was then placed in handcuffs and escorted out of the courtroom by detention staff to begin serving her 10 days in the Lake County jail.

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