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Survivor of crash pleads not guilty

Wed., June 23, 2010

A North Idaho, man is in federal custody on a manslaughter charge for a crash last summer.

Joseph Michael Matt Jr., a member of the Coeur d’Alene Tribe, was charged in connection with an Aug. 18 crash on Lovell Valley Road in Benewah County that killed William “Sonny” A. Davison, 22, of DeSmet.

Davison died after the 1997 Jeep Cherokee Matt was driving left the road and vaulted nearly 250 feet, taking off the tops of two trees. Investigators couldn’t immediately determine who was driving the Jeep but now say Matt was driving too fast and was drunk and high on methamphetamine, according to a grand jury indictment unsealed Thursday in U.S. District Court in Coeur d’Alene.

Matt pleaded not guilty Friday to one count of involuntary manslaughter. The charge carries a maximum eight years in prison. He has been in two other crashes on Lovell Valley Road but was not driving in either.

Meghann M. Cuniff

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