Teen Charged in Fatal Crash Wants Trial Moved

By Beacon Staff

KALISPELL – An attorney for a 17-year-old Evergreen girl charged with two counts of deliberate homicide in a crash that killed a pregnant woman and her son is asking that the trial be moved because he says an objective jury can’t be seated in Flathead County.

Defense attorney David Stufft requested in court records filed Aug. 17 that the trial be moved out of the county and northwest Montana. He says The Daily Inter Lake’s coverage of the case as well as the nature of reader comments on the newspaper’s website have tainted the area’s jury pool.

Authorities say the girl’s car crossed the centerline of U.S. 93 north of Kalispell on March 19, 2009, and slammed into another car, killing 35-year-old Erin Thompson of Columbia Falls and her 13-year-old son, Caden Vincent Odell. Thompson was four months pregnant.

Investigators believe the girl, who was 16 at the time, was trying to commit suicide after arguing with her boyfriend earlier in the day.

Court records say that shortly before the crash, she sent him several text messages, including one that said, “Good bye… My last words…” and one that said, “If I won. I would have you. And I wouldn’t crash my car.”

The girl has filed a lawsuit against Thompson’s estate and the contractors and construction company that were working on the stretch of highway where the fatal crash occurred. She claims it was Thompson who crossed the centerline.

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