Woman dead, another injured after alleged drunk driving crash


Neighbors react to fatal northside neighborhood crash 05-16-13

MISSOULA, Mont. - One woman is dead and another hospitalized in Missoula after an alleged drunk driver hit them.

Missoula Police Detective Sgt. Travis Welsh says officers responded to the 600 block of North 5th Street around 1:30 a.m. Thursday.

Police say 38-year-old Tom George Vineyard , was driving westbound on the street and crossed over the center line and on to a sidewalk where Pamela and Roberta Demmert were walking. Both were taken to St. Patrick Hospital to be treated for injuries and Roberta Demmert died.

The small pickup truck came to a rest on its side in a yard Lara Nokleby's front yard.

"All of sudden the house just shook and my first initial thought was that something had fallen in the house," said Nokleby. "It was crazy the car was just right up here and the headlights were right against the porch."

And Nokleby said it's not the first time in the four years she's lived in her home on N. 5th that something like this has happened.

"That time I heard a car, it woke me up screeching around the corner. I could hear him going really fast and that time they landed in that grey houses (down the street) front yard."

Nokleby's not alone. Luella Baier who lives next door has been a resident in the neighborhood for 55 years. The incident Thursday morning reminded her of several other crashes.

"A car came across our yard and in those days we had some bushes and it hit the bushes right in front of the house," said Baier. "There must have been three or four times cars have gone off of the street, taken out a fence."

Baier believes most of those incidents involved drunk drivers. "I guess that's what happened, a lot of people drink and drive."

Investigators in Thursdays crash say Vineyard provided a breath sample at almost three times the legal limit. He appeared in Missoula County Justice Court on charges of Vehicular Homicide Under the Influence and Negligent Vehicular Assault. The judge set bail at $200,000.

NBC Montana will keep you updated.

Anyone with information about the crash is asked to call Detective Shelagh More at (406) 552-6285.

Click here to read the entire charging documents.

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