GREAT FALLS , MO – A Harlem man who admitted to drinking and driving a four-wheeler when it crashed, killing his passenger on the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation, was sentenced on Thursday to 16 months in prison and to two years of supervised release, Acting U.S. Attorney Leif Johnson said.
Taylor Gardipee Walker, 23, pleaded guilty on Oct. 28, 2020 to involuntary manslaughter.
Chief U.S. District Judge Brian M. Morris presided. Chief Judge Morris also ordered restitution of $375.
The prosecution said in court documents that on Dec. 31, 2019 and into the early morning hours on Jan. 1, 2020, Walker was drinking to the point of intoxication. At about 3 a.m., Walker and the victim, identified as Jane Doe, went for a ride on a four-wheeler on Rodeo Drive, with Walker driving. Walker lost control of the ATV, causing it to roll over and sending him and the victim onto the pavement. Walker was seen fleeing the scene on foot.
Law enforcement officers and emergency responders arrived and found the victim unresponsive. The victim ultimately was transported to a Great Falls hospital, where she died from her injuries later that day.
Officers found Walker’s wallet at the scene and located Walker hiding in a bedroom closet of a residence. Walker, who had blood on his clothing and abrasions on his hands, was arrested for failing to report an accident. After initially saying he was not the driver, Walker admitted had been driving the ATV and had lost control and crashed. The investigation determined that Walker had a blood alcohol concentration of .0145 percent approximately three and a half hours after the crash.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Jared Cobell prosecuted the case, which was investigated by the FBI, Fort Belknap Law Enforcement Services, Blaine County Sheriff’s Office and Montana Highway Patrol.