BUTTE — A 22-year-old man accused of killing a man who was celebrating his 20th high school reunion has denied the allegations.
Cal Erickson Mullen pleaded not guilty in Boulder district court to felony vehicular homicide while under the influence. Mullen is accused of being behind the wheel at three times the legal limit at the time he crashed his pickup on Interstate 15 in June.
Mullen of Clancy turned himself in earlier this month on a warrant for the homicide charge as well as another felony count of negligent vehicular assault. He remains free on bond.
Mullen is accused of having a blood alcohol content of 0.265 when he crashed his pickup near Montana City on June 14. Charging documents say Mullen had been drinking at a Helena bar and was heading home when he failed to negotiate a curve. He lost control of the truck, which landed in the opposite lane facing oncoming traffic.
He then exited the truck. Prosecutors say he made no effort to warn oncoming vehicles or alert authorities of the wreck and this negligence caused the death and injuries.
A 2010 Nissan Murano driven by Jason West, 42, was carrying three passengers. The group had been celebrating its reunion in Clancy and was headed to Helena for breakfast at about 1:30 a.m.
The Nissan collided with Mullen’s unoccupied pickup. Investigators found no evidence of braking or other defensive maneuvers at the scene, documents note.
Wyman Robert Hewitt, 38, who was sitting in the backseat, was not wearing a seat belt. The impact threw Hewitt into the dashboard, causing his death, prosecutors wrote.
Another passenger, Anne Boster, 36, suffered serious damage to her heart and liver. Boster spent extended time in the hospital and endured multiple surgeries, charging documents note. Mullen’s negligent vehicular assault charge stems from her life-threatening injuries
Everyone but Hewitt was wearing a seat belt. All suffered injuries. Mullen faces two charges of misdemeanor negligent vehicular assault for causing injury to West and another occupant.
Mullen's trial date has not been scheduled.
West is facing three felony charges of criminal endangerment for driving both inattentively and after drinking. Prosecutors filed one count per passenger in his vehicle. He was given a notice to appear in court on the charges.
After reconstructing the crash, Montana Highway Patrol troopers determined “that a driver paying attention to the road would have had sufficient time and distance to either stop or slow and steer around a hazard in the road,” court documents say.