Missoula man faces charges following double fatal involving a Pu - ABC FOX Montana Local News, Weather, Sports KTMF | KWYB

Missoula man faces charges following double fatal involving a Pub Crawler shuttle

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A Missoula man tonight is charged with negligent homicide after a rollover on I-90 that killed two people and injured seven others.

James Bayford appeared in court Monday afternoon because of what police say he did Saturday night.

Investigators say that on Saturday at about 8:00 p.m. he was a passenger in this party-vehicle that was shuttling people back to Missoula from a festival in rock creek called Testy-Fest.  It was a modified jeep run by a company called Pub Crawlers.  Court documents show that Bayford became upset with the driver and grabbed the steering wheel. 

"The driver was able to slow down a bit and tried to re-gain control according to witnesses and occupants,” says Sgt. Paul Pfau.  “So speed was reduced, we don't think high speed was a factor.  Maybe 65 or less when the incident happened."

Two people were ejected from the jeep and died at mile marker 111 near Bonner -- 36 year old Donny Barlow and 33 year old Vanessa Anderson, both from Missoula.  EMTs transported seven other to the hospital for their injuries.  The court documents show that there were only seven seatbelts in the jeep and nine people were aboard.

ABC FOX Montana spoke on the phone today with Jeremy Hitchcock, the owner of Pub Crawlers.  And while he declined to have us record our conversation, here's what he had to say.

Hitchcock says he only started the company about a month ago, and the jeep that crashed was his only car, but he's expecting to take delivery on another this week.
The Jeep involved in the crash was built for safari-type uses, and is kept to less than 60 miles per hour.
He says he started the company to keep drunk drivers from getting behind the wheel.

Which is apparently what he did Saturday night.  Police say Bayford's blood alcohol level was .208, More than two and a half times the legal limit.  And while Bayford was not behind the wheel, if what police say is true, he was just as deadly being near the wheel.

Bayford faces two counts of negligent homicide and six counts of criminal endangerment, which combined could send him to prison for 100 years if found guilty on all charges.
His bail is set at $200,000

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