Missoula Man Rejects Plea Deal in Fatal Drag Race

By Beacon Staff

A 23-year-old Missoula man charged in a drag race that killed one man and injured four other people near Turah will go to trial after rejecting a plea deal.

Matthew T. Chase faces seven felonies stemming from the Aug. 5, 2008, wreck that killed 25-year-old Jacob Bailey of Clinton and put a woman in a coma. The charges include criminal endangerment, evidence tampering, and leaving the scene of an accident.

On the morning of the wreck, investigators say they found Bailey slumped over the driver’s seat of his car. A 19-year-old woman was unconscious in the back seat, and another man was lying on the ground outside of the car. Two teenage girls also were injured.

Charging documents say the teens told investigators they were drag racing with a person named “Matt,” who they had met that night while drinking at a bar. The victims say “Matt” cut them off and Bailey lost control of his car, crashing down an embankment and smashing into a boulder.

Chase’s trial is set for June 1.