Minnesota man pleads not guilty in vehicular homicide case

A 23-year-old Minnesota man has pleaded not guilty to two counts of vehicular homicide while under the influence for a July 4 crash that killed two women in western Montana.

Prosecutors say Mason David Drake of Lanesboro, Minnesota, was intoxicated when his vehicle crossed Montana Highway 35 east of Kalispell and crashed head-on into a truck. The collision killed 59-year-old Alice Barten and her daughter, 31-year-old Katie Barten, of the Kalispell area.

Drake, who was in Montana working as a firefighter for the U.S. Forest Service, spent eight days in the hospital.

The Flathead Beacon reports District Judge Matt Cuffe set Drake’s bail at $500,000 on Friday.

Defense attorney David Mattingly sought a reduced bail and said Drake would live in Minnesota with his father and stepmother. Cuffe did not rule on the motion.

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