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A Lame Deer man admitted that he was driving drunk last Oct. 2 when he caused a rollover crash that killed a passenger.

Appearing before Senior U.S. District Judge Sam Haddon on Wednesday in Billings, Jerard David Jo Threefingers, 23, pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter for causing the death of a female passenger identified by the initials T.P.

A plea agreement calls for a second count of assault resulting in serious injury to be dismissed.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Lori Suek said in court records that the crash occurred near Lame Deer at about 12:30 p.m. One passenger was unconscious and another needed medical help, she said.

Officers found a woman dead at the scene, an injured man, an empty 30-pack beer container and two unopened beer cans, Suek said. The vehicle, a Ford Explorer, was owned by the dead woman but officers were unsure whether she had been driving.

The investigation found that Threefingers and another female passenger had been in the car and had walked away from the wreck. Officers arrested Threefingers about two hours later on tribal charges.

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Threefingers initially said the victim was the driver, then admitted he had been driving, Suek said.

Threefingers faces a maximum of eight years in prison and a possible $250,000 fine. Haddon set sentencing for Sept. 9 in Helena. Threefingers remains in custody.

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Federal Court, Yellowtone County Reporter

Federal court and county reporter for The Billings Gazette.