Man charged with 6 counts of criminal endangerment for New Year's Day crash

2014-04-08T16:09:00Z 2014-04-08T22:00:05Z Man charged with 6 counts of criminal endangerment for New Year's Day crashGazette Staff The Billings Gazette
April 08, 2014 4:09 pm  • 

A 41-year-old man was charged with six felonies on Tuesday for what charging documents describe as a New Year's Day drunken-driving crash that injured six people.

Robert Ross Backer appeared  in Yellowstone County Justice Court, where Judge David Carter charged him with six felony counts of criminal endangerment and one misdemeanor count of driving under the influence.

Charging documents say Backer was the driver in a vehicle crash near the intersection of North Eighth and West E roads, near Huntley, during the early hours of Jan. 1. Emergency crews were called to the area at 12:23 a.m. and found a Ford sport-utility vehicle in an irrigation ditch.

When law enforcement officials spoke with Backer — who initially needed help walking from a sheriff's deputy and had a bloodied face and a large cut on his neck — he smelled of alcohol and said he had been driving, the affidavit states.

Investigators also spoke with six other people, all of whom said they were passengers in the Ford when it crashed and that Backer had been driving.

"All of the passengers received injuries in the crash ranging from broken bones to lacerations and bruises," the affidavit states. "All of the passengers, except (one), admitted to consuming alcoholic beverages. All of the passengers indicated (Backer) was driving too fast for the road conditions and was impaired."

Backer later told a trooper that he'd been driving but couldn't remember more, the documents said.

Carter allowed Backer to remain free on his own recognizance as long as he followed a list of instructions that include having no contact with witnesses or alleged victims, no drugs or alcohol without medical approval and that he enroll in the 24/7 sobriety program.

He ordered Backer to appear in District Court on April 14.

Copyright 2014 The Billings Gazette. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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