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Press Release

Great Falls man admits manslaughter charge in fatal crash on Blackfeet Indian Reservation

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Montana

GREAT FALLS — A Great Falls man suspected of driving under the influence admitted today to causing the death of his passenger when he crashed in the Browning area, on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation, U.S. Attorney Jesse Laslovich said.

Emil Saunders Day Chief, 41, pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter. Day Chief faces a maximum of eight years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised release.

Chief U.S. District Judge Brian M. Morris presided. The court will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors. Sentencing was set for Oct. 25. Day Chief was detained pending further proceedings.

In court documents, the government alleged that on July 19, 2022, Day Chief picked up the victim, Jane Doe, in Heart Butte. Day Chief was driving, while Jane Doe was a passenger. Soon thereafter, a witness saw Day Chief drive by at approximately 90 mph. Day Chief’s car then veered off the road, overcorrected, flipped 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. The witness found Day Chief still in the driver’s seat with one arm trapped under the car and a beer can in his other hand. The witness and others lifted the car, and Day Chief got out. Law enforcement arrived and found Jane Doe deceased and lying in the road. Officers also saw beer cans in the car and scattered around the scene and an empty jar from a marijuana dispensary. Day Chief was transported to a hospital for treatment. An investigation determined that Day Chief had a blood alcohol content of .335 percent and that his blood was positive for opiates and THC. Jane Doe died of blunt force injuries.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jessica A. Betley is prosecuting the case. The FBI, Blackfeet Law Enforcement Services, Montana Highway Patrol and Glacier County Sheriff’s Office  conducted the investigation.



Clair Johnson Howard

Public Affairs Officer


Updated May 24, 2023

Press Release Number: 23-168