Posted: May 17, 2013 9:13 AM by Irina Cates - MTN News
MISSOULA - Prosecutors say a man accused of killing a deaf mother of three children and seriously injuring her sister while he was driving drunk, told officers he was on his way home after drinking two pitchers of beer in downtown Missoula.
A Missoula couple called 911 just before 1:30 a.m. Thursday after a pickup truck driven by that Tom George Vineyard, 38, hit the two women and then slid into their yard.
"All of a sudden the house just shook and my first initial thought was that something had fallen in the house," said Lara Nokleby, who was awakened by the crash.
Missoula police officers were then sent to the house, located on the 600 block of North 5th Street West.
"When they arrived, initially they had a hard time finding the vehicle and later discovered that it was actually sitting on its side in the front yard of a residence in that block," said Missoula Police Sergeant Travis Welsh.
"The car was just right up here and the headlights were right against the porch," added Nokleby.
Investigators say Roberta Demmert, 39, and her sister, Pamela, lived nearby and were on their way to the store to buy cigarettes when they were hit.
"The vehicle was traveling westbound on North 5th Street from North Orange and, while negotiating a gradual curve in that section of the street, the vehicle did cross the double yellow center line, traveled through the eastbound lane and went up onto the sidewalk where it struck these two pedestrians," said Welsh.
Both women were taken to the hospital where Roberta was later pronounced dead.
Vineyard is now facing felony charges of vehicular homicide while the influence and negligent vehicular assault.
Initial reports indicate that he had a .239 blood alcohol content when he was tested after the crash, nearly three times the legal limit.