Ambrozuk Sentenced on Passport Charge, Expects to be Deported

By Beacon Staff

HELENA (AP) – A Canadian man who intentionally crashed a rented airplane into a northwest Montana lake in 1982, leading to the accidental drowning of his girlfriend, has been sentenced for illegally obtaining an American passport five years ago, his attorney said.

Jerry Ambrozuk was sentenced Thursday in federal court in Sherman, Texas, to 4½ months in prison, with credit for time served. He is eligible for immediate release from U.S. custody and will be turned over to Immigration and Naturalization Service for deportation to Canada, attorney Chuck Watson of Bozeman said in a statement.

Ambrozuk expects to be deported immediately, Watson said.

Ambrozuk, then 19, entered Montana illegally in August 1982 when he and Dianne Babcock attempted to land a rented plane in lake near Kalispell and swim to shore, in an apparent plan to elope. The plane sank with Babcock, 18, inside and she drowned.

Ambrozuk fled the crash scene and remained a fugitive for 24 years. He was arrested in August 2006 in Texas after authorities received a tip he was living there under an assumed identity.

Ambrozuk pleaded guilty to theft and criminal mischief in the crash. He was given concurrent 10-year suspended sentences and ordered to pay $34,000 in restitution — $19,500 to the owner of the plane, $10,000 in prosecution and court costs and $5,000 to Babcock’s family for funeral expenses.

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