A Garryowen man who drunkenly crashed his truck, killing a passenger and injuring two others near Lodge Grass, was sentenced to probation on Wednesday in federal court.
Gus Oldbear, 20, was charged with one count of involuntary manslaughter and two counts of assault resulting in serious injury. He pleaded guilty to the charges in May.
He was sentenced to five years of concurrent probation for all three counts by U.S. District Judge Susan Watters.
Oldbear was found guilty of driving a truck while under the influence resulting in the death of 21-year-old Christian Stewart, of Crow Agency, and injuring two others.
One victim was rendered a quadriplegic, and the other suffered a collapsed lung, according to the government's filings.
On Aug. 10, 2018, Oldbear, who was 19 at the time, was driving drunk northbound on Frontage Road near mile marker 13 along Interstate 90 near Lodge Grass.
The crash, which was reported at 8:40 a.m., occurred when Oldbear driving a Dodge Ram went off the road, overcorrected and then struck an embankment, according to the Montana Highway Patrol.
The truck rolled several times and ejected two occupants. The report did not specify who had been ejected. Stewart was pronounced dead at the scene.
Oldbear and a 17-year-old girl were taken to the hospital in Crow Agency with injuries, before one of them was flown to St. Vincent Healthcare in Billings, according to MHP.
Oldbear had a blood alcohol level of 0.123 percent at the time of the crash.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Lori Suek prosecuted the case and said Oldbear must focus on rehabilitation. Suek pointed out that Oldbear has no criminal history aside from the crash, is enrolled in classes at Little Bighorn College and is employed.
Oldbear’s attorney asked for probation. Oldbear has been on pre-trial release since April and has been attending mental health counseling and substance abuse programs.
Watters said she was surprised Oldbear didn’t have a criminal history and noted his commitment to attending his treatment, starting school and maintaining employment. Interrupting his progress wouldn’t serve society or him, she added.
Watters tacked on several special requirements to Oldbear’s probation, including that he continue mental health and substance abuse treatment, that he is prohibited from entering a business that primarily serves alcohol, and cannot stay in or enter a house where one or more people are drinking alcohol or using any other substances. He also cannot drive in a car where there is alcohol present or with people who have been drinking.
Oldbear originally faced up to 28 years in prison and a maximum of $750,000 in fines.
Sign up for our Crime & Courts newsletter
Get the latest in local public safety news with this weekly email.