News & Features

Kalispell Man Charged in Crash that Killed Sleeping Evergreen Teen

Jared Parsons, 31, will be arraigned in Flathead District Court May 23 on vehicular homicide while under the influence

A 31-year-old Kalispell man is slated to appear for an arraignment hearing May 23 in Flathead County District Court on allegations that he was drunk when he crashed into an Evergreen home last week and killed a sleeping teenager.

Jared Allen Parsons faces a single felony count of vehicular homicide while under the influence for allegedly causing the death of 15-year-old Erin Howk, a student at Columbia Falls High School who died in the wreck, according to charging documents submitted by Flathead County Attorney Travis Ahner.

If convicted, Parsons faces a maximum of 30 years in the Montana State Prison and a fine of up to $50,000. The imposition of his sentence may not be deferred under Montana law.

He remains jailed at the Flathead County Detention Facility on a $500,000 bond after Flathead County Justice of the Peace Eric Hummel increased the amount from $200,000, determining Parsons was a flight risk and a potential risk to the community if he was released.

According to an affidavit in support of the charges, Montana Highway Patrol troopers Jerril Ren and Eric Thoreson responded to a report of a vehicle crashing into a house on Spring Creek Drive at around 2:16 a.m. on April 26. Upon arriving, they learned that a Dodge Ram pickup truck crashed had through a sign, ran over some bushes and struck the house, killing the sleeping Howk, who was dead when authorities arrived.

Trooper Thoreson located two men near the scene of the crash and identified one as Howk’s father, who was on top of the other man, and the other as Parsons.

“The father stated that Parsons had driven into his house. The father stated that he had pulled Parsons out of his vehicle and Parsons took off running,” the charging documents state.

Trooper Ren detected the strong odor of alcohol coming from Parsons, and observed he had a difficult time maintaining his balance and stumbled when he walked, records state.

“Trooper Ren stated that Parsons had slurred and confused Speech. Trooper Ren described Parsons as appearing extremely intoxicated,” according to records.

Parsons refused to participate in field sobriety tests and, after being read the implied consent advisory, refused to provide a blood sample.

According to records, the pickup crashed through the exterior of the house “to approximately the driver’s door” and was registered to Parsons.

Friends and family members have launched a GoFundMe page to raise money to help offset costs associated with the memorial, while community members and businesses have been assisting with meals. The fundraising page is titled “Erin Howk Memorial.”

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