Mother, son plead guilty to fatal wreck charges
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POLSON — It was a case of back-to-back guilty pleas for a mother and her son from St. Ignatius charged with crimes stemming from a fatal car wreck last January. Rope Kinkade Ardis, 19, and Roberta Virginia Asencio, 40, appeared at District Court in Polson on April 6 for change of plea hearings. Ardis pled guilty to felony vehicular homicide while under the influence, while his mother, Asencio, pleaded guilty to felony tampering with witnesses and informants.
According to court records, on Jan. 23, 2021, 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 along with one shoe. 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. He was also in possession of a shoe that matched the one left at the crash site. 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.
Eschenbacher says he’ll ask for 20 years in the Montana State Prison with 10 years suspended for Ardis, and a five-year commitment to the Montana Department of Corrections with all that time suspended for Asencio. Judge James Manley set sentencing for May 25. Both Ardis and Asencio are at liberty.