Man denies charges in fatal 2013 Lockwood crash

2014-04-08T13:45:00Z 2014-04-08T22:40:04Z Man denies charges in fatal 2013 Lockwood crashBy ZACH BENOIT The Billings Gazette

An 18-year-old Billings man was charged on Tuesday with driving a car at speeds of as much as 103 mph in Lockwood last year while he had methamphetamine in his system leading up to a fiery crash that killed a woman and injured a child.

Damian Scott Strever was arraigned in District Court by video from the county jail on felony charges of negligent homicide and negligent vehicular assault and a misdemeanor count possession of drug paraphernalia.

Strever pleaded not guilty to all three charges. Judge Gregory Todd set his bond at $35,000 and ordered him to be monitored for drug use if he is released from jail.

Charging documents say that Strever was driving a Buick Regal at speeds of up to 103 mph in April of 2013 when it crashed off of the road near Frontage and ExxonMobil roads. The car then landed on its top and caught fire.

Nina M. Klein, a 26-year-old Billings woman, died in the crash and a 3-year-old girl was seriously injured, according to charging documents. Both were passengers in the Buick.

An ambulance took Strever to Billings Clinic, where hospital staff found suspected drug paraphernalia in his clothing, the affidavit states. They also say that a blood sample taken from him while there indicated that he had meth in his system at the time.

Deputy Yellowstone County Attorney Ingrid Rosenquist told Todd on Tuesday that Strever, in an unrelated incident months later, was arrested and later convicted, in December of 2013, for driving under the influence of drugs.

Todd said a trial date for Strever will be set later.

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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