Harlem man admits involuntary manslaughter charge in ATV crash
GREAT FALLS – A Harlem man today admitted a charge accusing him of drinking and driving a four-wheeler when it rolled and crashed on the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation, killing his passenger, U.S. Attorney Kurt Alme said.
Taylor Gardipee Walker, 22, pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter. Walker faces a maximum eight years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised release.
Chief U.S. District Judge Brian M. Morris presided. Chief Judge Morris set sentencing for Feb. 25, 2021. Walker was released.
The prosecution said in court documents that on Dec. 31, 2019 and into the early morning hours on Jan. 1, 2020, Walker was drinking to the point of intoxication. At about 3 a.m., Walker and the victim, identified as Jane Doe, went for a ride on a four-wheeler on Rodeo Drive, with Walker driving. Walker lost control of the ATV, causing it to roll over and sending him and the victim onto the pavement. Walker was seen fleeing the scene on foot.
Law enforcement officers and emergency responders arrived and found the victim unresponsive and barely breathing. The victim ultimately was transported to a Great Falls hospital, where she died from her injuries later that day.
Officers found Walker’s wallet at the scene and began knocking on doors of local residences associated with Walker. Officers located Walker hiding in a bedroom closet of a residence. Walker, who had blood on his clothing and abrasions on his hands, was arrested for failing to report an accident. After initially saying he was not the driver, Walker admitted had been driving the ATV and had lost control and crashed. The investigation determined that Walker had a blood alcohol concentration of .0145 percent approximately three and a half hours after the crash.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Jared Cobell is prosecuting the case, which was investigated by the FBI, Fort Belknap Law Enforcement Services, Blaine County Sheriff’s Office and Montana Highway Patrol.