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A man who prosecutors said explained he was trying to jump his car over a ditch when he crashed was charged Wednesday in Yellowstone County Justice Court. 

Daniel Howard Lucas, 23, appeared by video from the county jail on felony charges of criminal endangerment and tampering related to the crash and his arrest Tuesday evening.

Lucas is also charged with misdemeanor counts of DUI and possessing drug paraphernalia. Prosecutors allege that Lucas admitted to drinking alcohol, smoking marijuana and taking prescription pain medication and anti-anxiety pills before the crash.

The tampering charge alleges that Lucas dumped the contents of a plastic baggie into a toilet at the jail after his arrest.    

Lucas was arrested after a Montana Highway Patrol trooper was sent at about 8:30 p.m. to check on a report of a car in a ditch near 64th Street West and Laurel Airport Road.

The trooper said he found the car and that the driver, Lucas, explained he was "trying to jump his car over the ditch to the green spot on the other side," court records state.

Lucas showed signs of intoxication, the trooper said.

A witness said he was driving west on Laurel Airport Road at a sharp curve when a car heading the opposite direction crossed the center line into his lane. The man said he avoided a collision by driving partially into the ditch.

The car driven by Lucas then crashed into the ditch, the witness said. Two passengers in the crashed car fled before troopers arrived, he said.

A glass pipe and large bottle of brewery beer were found inside the car, court records state.    



State courts reporter for the Billings Gazette.