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Written by The Herald-News Saturday, 05 May 2012 08:38
A Wolf Point man involved in a double-fatal auto accident along U.S. Hwy. 2 last fall has pleaded guilty to two counts of involuntary manslaughter.
Ronald G. Keiser III, 37, pleaded guilty April 26 in federal court in Butte.
Keiser, who is being detained, is scheduled for sentencing before U.S. District Judge Sam E. Haddon on Aug. 2. He faces a possible maximum penalty of eight years in prison on each count, plus a $250,000 fine and three years supervised release on each count.
In an Offer of Proof filed by assistant U.S. Attorney Jessica A. Betley, the government stated it would have proved at trial that Keiser had a blood alcohol content of 0.182 percent, more than twice the legal limit, shortly after the crash on Aug. 19, 2011.
The government said Keiser went to a Nashua bar the night of Aug. 19 and was seen by witnesses staggering around the bar and drinking beer before leaving around 10:30 p.m. and exiting alone in his pickup truck.
Authorities were first alerted at 11:23 p.m. Aug. 19 to a head-on collision between a pickup and a sport utility vehicle, just east of Frazer along U.S. Hwy. 2.
The government said Keiser was found uninjured on the side of the road at 11:37 p.m., with the grill guard of his pickup embedded in the middle of the right passenger side of an SUV.
The Montana Highway Patrol said the crash occurred as Keiser was driv- ing eastbound.
The MHP said Keiser crossed into the westbound lane, causing the other driver, Timothy P. Rennick, 33, of Glendive, to swerve his westbound SUV into the eastbound lane to avoid a collision.
Police said Keiser then drove back into the proper lane and crashed his pickup into the SUV’s passenger side, killing Blaine Henry Mack, 56, and Todd Michael Burckhard, 36, both of Minot, N.D., who were seated in front and rear passenger seats of the SUV that was a BNSF transport vehicle.
Rennick also survived the crash.
Police said an open can of beer was found in the driver’s door panel of Keiser’s pickup. Police said two partially filled cases of beer were also found behind the driver’s seat of his pickup.