Columbia Falls Man Sentenced for 2013 Hit and Run

Sean Francisco West handed suspended sentences for January 2013 crash on U.S. 2

By Justin Franz

A Columbia Falls man was sentenced in Flathead County District Court on July 10 for a January 2013 DUI and hit-and-run crash that sent one person to the hospital.

Sean Francisco West was sentenced to two eight-year suspended sentences to the Montana State Prison and one five-year suspended sentence, to be served concurrently. The decision came 18 months after West ran a red light and crashed into another car at the intersection of U.S. Highway 2 and Reserve Street on Jan. 19, 2013.

One of the passengers in the car that was hit, Derrick Hayward, was ejected from the vehicle and, according to court documents, flew 63 feet through the air before hitting the pavement. Hayward spent several days in the hospital and sustained numerous injuries, including a lacerated liver.

West fled the scene on foot and later called police to tell them what happened, according to court records. Police met with West and transported him to the hospital where he was treated for injuries and took a Breathalyzer test where he blew .143, nearly twice the legal limit.

West was charged with three felonies: negligent vehicular assault; criminal endangerment; and failure to remain at the scene of a crime. He was later found guilty on all three counts at trial.

At Thursday’s sentencing, West said the accident changed his life and he hasn’t had a drink in a year and a half.

“This accident opened my eyes,” he said. “I want to turn this page and start a new chapter in my life.”

Besides West’s suspended sentences, he also must pay more than $40,000 in restitution to one of the victims and an insurance company.

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