Great Falls Man Sentenced in Fatal Car Crash on Blackfeet Indian Reservation

Emil Saunders Day Chief was sentenced to more than three years in prison after crashing a vehicle that killed his passenger

By Maggie Dresser

A 42-year-old Great Falls man who admitted to crashing his vehicle near Browning on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation while under the influence of alcohol and killing his passenger was sentenced Monday to three years and two months in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Emil Saunders Day Chief pleaded guilty in May to involuntary manslaughter before Chief U.S. District Judge Brian M. Morris.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jessica Betley prosecuted the case.

According to court documents, Day Chief on July 19, 2022 was driving and picked up a female passenger in Heart Butte. Soon after, a witness saw Day Chief drive by at approximately 90 mph before Day Chief veered off the road, overcorrected and rolled twice before coming to a stop on the driver’s side.

The passenger went through the windshield and the vehicle rolled over her. Witnesses extricated Day Chief from the vehicle and an ambulance transported him to a Browning hospital.

Law enforcement arrived to find the passenger deceased in the road with blunt force injuries.

Officers observed beer cans in the car and scattered around the scene and an empty jar from a marijuana dispensary. An investigation determined that Day Chief had a blood alcohol content of .335% and his blood tested positive for THC.

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