Woman Charged with Negligent Homicide in Pedestrian Death

The Montana Standard reported that a 55-year-old woman was charged by the Butte-Silver Bow County Attorney’s office with negligent homicide this week. This charge is a felony. The homicide occurred when the 75-year-old Dan Lean was hit and killed by the woman’s car while he was on a morning walk on December 6, 2017. According to NBC Montana, she did not enter a plea. Instead, she and her attorney appeared before Justice of the Peace Debra Williams. Later, after her arraignment, she was taken to the Butte-Silver Bow Detention Center where she was booked and then released.

Lean was a teacher and coach in the Butte area. He had taught for a few years at East Junior High School then moved to West Junior High School as a math teacher. He was out for his morning walk at the 2900 block of Amherst Avenue. It was roughly an hour and a half before sunrise. According to court records, he was wearing reflective gear and was walking in the parking lane when he was hit by the car.

Prosecutors claim that the woman was driving on the road’s shoulder without headlights on. The Montana Standard reports that a blood sample was taken on December 6, when the accident happened, but the results have not been released because it is part of the ongoing investigation.

This is a tragic story for everyone involved. Our hearts go out to the family and friends of Dan Lean. We also express our sadness for the woman, Christol Williamson. Accidents are usually just that; they are an accident. However, this doesn’t remove responsibility for actions. Driving, under any circumstance, is a huge responsibility. It requires the vigilance of those behind the wheel. In this post, we have two simple recommendations to help prevent pedestrian accidents. As always, there is no certainty that these tips would have absolutely prevented this specific accident; however, these suggestions certainly would have helped.  

  • Drive with your lights on. In this accident, it was early in the morning, and the driver was commuting without her headlights. Driving in this way is not only unsafe for pedestrians who you may not be able to see, but it is also not safe for you as a driver. Other drivers might crash into you because they were not aware of the presence of your car on the road. Headlights alert other drivers and people to your presence. They also help you see what is in front of you. If a pedestrian is wearing reflective gear, it might not be visible if no light is shining.

  • Stay in the designated lane. In this accident, the driver was driving on the road’s shoulder. Sometimes, in winter, when the streets are snowy, it may be tempting to drive off the usual route to avoid snow patches or other impediments. If you are going to do this, be extremely careful. Be certain that you can drive there, and don’t stay there too long.

Pedestrian accidents are horrendous affairs. Pedestrians do not have the same protections that car occupants do so the devastating effects can be more damaging. If you have any questions regarding your legal rights in pedestrian accidents, contact The Advocates Law Firm. You deserve an Advocate!