GREAT FALLS — A Great Falls man who admitted to driving while under the influence of alcohol when he crashed his vehicle near Browning, on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation, and killed his passenger, was sentenced today to three years and two months in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release, U.S. Attorney Jesse Laslovich said.
Emil Saunders Day Chief, 42, pleaded guilty in May to involuntary manslaughter.
Chief U.S. District Judge Brian M. Morris presided.
In court documents, the government alleged that on July 19, 2022, Day Chief was driving and picked up a passenger, identified as Jane Doe, in Heart Butte. Soon thereafter, a witness saw Day Chief drive by at approximately 90 mph. Day Chief’s car then veered off the road, overcorrected and rolled two times before coming to a stop on the driver’s side. Jane Doe went through the windshield and the vehicle rolled over her. Witnesses got Day Chief out of the vehicle, and an ambulance took him to the hospital in Browning. Law enforcement found Jane Doe deceased in the road. Officers saw beer cans in the car and scattered around the scene and an empty jar from a marijuana dispensary. An investigation determined that Day Chief had a blood alcohol content of .335 percent and that his blood was positive for THC. Jane Doe died of blunt force injuries.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Jessica A. Betley prosecuted the case. The FBI, Blackfeet Law Enforcement Services, Montana Highway Patrol and Glacier County Sheriff’s Office conducted the investigation.