Whitefish Man Charged With Negligent Vehicular Assault After Hitting Pedestrians

James B. French Jr. will appear in court in August

By Justin Franz

A 56-year-old Whitefish man has been charged with two counts of negligent vehicular assault after allegedly hitting two pedestrians on Baker Avenue on July 14.

James B. French Jr. was formally charged in Flathead County District Court on July 17. He is expected to appear at an arraignment on Aug. 2 before Judge Heidi Ulbricht. If convicted, he could face up to 20 years in prison.

According to court documents and law enforcement, the incident occurred on Baker Avenue at approximately 4:45 p.m. When police arrived, they found a 2012 Mustang up on the sidewalk and two people suffering from “very serious injuries.” The pedestrians, a husband and wife, had been walking on the sidewalk when the vehicle struck them. The woman ended up going down a steep embankment and the man was impaled by some branches in the tree, about 15 feet in the air. Both people were taken to area hospitals.

The driver of the vehicle told law enforcement that he had turned north off Eighth Street onto Baker Avenue when he lost control of the vehicle and drove on to the sidewalk. According to court documents, French later took a Breathalyzer test that confirmed that he had been drinking prior to the incident.

Stay Connected with the Daily Roundup.

Sign up for our newsletter and get the best of the Beacon delivered every day to your inbox.