Littlesun admits culpability in car collision that killed two minors
Thu, 07/13/2017 - 5:00am admin
By Andrew Turck / Big Horn County News
A mixture of illegal decisions converged Sept. 10, 2016 on Highway 212 near Busby, ending in a vehicle collision that killed two teenagers and seriously injured a young passenger. Thyanna Faith Littlesun, 24, pleaded guilty on July 6 to two counts of involuntary manslaughter and one count of assault resulting in serious bodily injury for her role in the incident.
She entered the plea at U.S. Federal Court in Billings without the benefit of a written plea agreement.
The day of the collision, court documents state, Littlesun spent the morning with friends in Busby, drinking alcohol in excess of four times the legal limit for driving. Then, she stole a Buick Regal sedan and drove it westbound onto the highway.
Meanwhile, a 12-year-old girl was exiting Busby’s Trading Post store while driving a Pontiac containing three other minors – two were age 14 and one was 12. The minimum age for a provincial driver’s license in Montana is 15 years.
“A driver on Highway 212 reported that a female in a blue Buick was driving erratically and went into a ditch twice,” court documents state. “One minute later, another individual called 911 to report that a two-car collision had just taken place at mile marker 25 on Highway 212 in Busby.”
Both 14-year-olds, Stephan Bearchum and James Walker, were found deceased on the roadway. The 12-year-old passenger survived, though according to court documents, he “suffered severe traumatic brain injuries, facial and skull fractures, and a host of internal injuries.”
The 12-year-old driver “suffered only minor injuries,” court documents state, and Littlesun was “discovered her in the driver’s seat looking intoxicated and smelling like alcohol.”
According to a “total station” analysis of the crash scene conducted by the Montana Highway Patrol, Littlesun veered into oncoming traffic and her car struck the “nearly stationary” Pontiac at about 84 miles per hour.
“Their analysis was consistent with eyewitness accounts,” court documents state.
The child driving the Pontiac tested negative for drugs or alcohol.
The maximum penalty for involuntary manslaughter is eight years imprisonment, a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised release. For assault resulting in serious bodily injury, the maximum sentence is 10 years of imprisonment, a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised release.
A sentencing date has not been set.