Suspected drunk driver pleads not guilty to negligent driving assault

Accused drunk driver Kenneth Malcolm Stevenson appeared in Flathead County District Court for his arraignment last week as the family of cyclists he allegedly struck in late August continue to battle injuries, visible and not, suffered during the collision.

Stevenson, 34, pleaded not guilty to a single count of negligent driving homicide before Judge Dan Wilson on September 8. An omnibus hearing has been set for Nov. 16, and Stevenson is expected to return to court for a pre-trial on Jan. 4.

According to court documents, Stevenson seriously injured a man — and hit a Jeep — when he tried to pass a group of cyclists pedaling north on East Seventh Avenue North on Aug. 21 in his Ford F-350 pickup truck. Kalispell police officers who arrived on the scene reported that Stevenson, who was driving without shoes, had slurred speech, watery and bloodshot eyes and the smell of an alcoholic drink, according to court documents.

They also reportedly found clothing stuck to the badly damaged front end of Stevenson’s pickup.

Struggling to keep his balance, Stevenson needed the help of officers to stand, according to court documents. He reportedly admitted to drinking at a local bar before the crash and later agreed to a blood test after initially refusing.

COURT DOCUMENTS highlight one of Stevenson’s alleged victims – Shane Corpron – describing the man as suffering from broken ribs, a broken pelvis and possibly a broken back.

Jade Corpron, Shane’s daughter-in-law, said he was not the only one to suffer injuries. After hitting Shane Corpron, the van collided with a Jeep ahead of it, she recalled in a phone interview. Then Stevenson tried to back up and punch her and her 6-year-old child, Jade Corpron said.

‘He hit my son so hard he blew his tennis shoes off on the highway and mangled the handlebars of his little bike,’ said Jade Corpron, who said she was dragged by Stevenson’s vehicle in a ditch.

Then, she said, Stevenson tried to flee. He was blocked by another vehicle and a passerby even offered to tie him up, remembers Jade Corpron.

“The damage he caused is horrific and all the officials who went there said they didn’t know how we were still alive,” she said. “Just the fact that he tried to leave us, that’s not something we’re going to get over. It was like we were just thrown away, like roadkill, him leaving us on the edge of the road. road like this.

Due to the extent of his injuries, officials transported Shane Corpron to Harborview Medical Center in Washington. He has since returned home but has to use a wheelchair to get around while he recovers, said Jade Corpron, describing him as “just completely broken up and down”.

She and her son, Beau, were examined by paramedics at the scene. Their injuries, including severe bruises, did not become apparent until later. She said she struggled with migraines and had neck, hip and knee problems. Her son also suffers from night terrors and will likely see a forensic psychologist, she said.

“The damage [Stevenson] caused is so much deeper than the things that will heal,” said Jade Corpron.

Stevenson, meanwhile, appeared in the courtroom in full dress. Initially held in the county jail on bond set at $20,000, he was later released on his own recognizance, albeit with conditions. These stipulations include abstaining from alcohol and avoiding places where alcohol is served. He must also participate in the county’s sobriety compliance monitoring program, according to court documents.

“[Stevenson] is walking around,” Jade Corpron said. “For your whole family to suffer so much mentally and physically and walk around, we don’t agree.”

Reckless assault while driving a vehicle carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in Montana state prison and a $10,000 fine plus possible court-ordered restitution .

Managing Editor Derrick Perkins can be reached at 758-4430 or [email protected]

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