A 32-year-old Kalispell man pleaded guilty to a single count of vehicular homicide nearly a year after he drove a vehicle into an Evergreen home killing a 15-year-old girl.
Jared Allen Parsons appeared at change of plea hearing in Flathead County District Court on Jan. 23. He will be sentenced in March.
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, 2019. Upon arriving, they learned that a Dodge Ram pickup truck crashed through a sign, ran over some bushes and struck a house, killing 15-year-old Erin Howk, a student at Columbia Falls High School. The teen had been sleeping and 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. 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.
No formal plea agreement is in place but the state is expected to recommend a 20-year commitment to the Montana State Prison with 13 years suspended. The defendant’s attorney will likely recommend some sort of treatment program.