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Man Pleads Guilty to Role in Fatal Drag Race

By Beacon Staff

MISSOULA – A 23-year-old Missoula man charged in a drag race that killed one man and injured four other people near Turah has pleaded guilty to felony criminal endangerment.

Matthew T. Chase accepted a plea deal Wednesday for the Aug. 5, 2008, wreck that killed 25-year-old Jacob Bailey of Clinton and put a woman in a coma. He faced seven felonies, including 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.

The teens told investigators they were drag racing Chase when Bailey lost control of his car. Deputy Missoula County Attorney Jennifer Clark says both drivers were engaged in reckless behavior when the wreck occurred.

Chase’s plea deal recommends a 10-year suspended sentence with the state Department of Corrections.

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