May 5, 2013 in Region

No felony charges in Missoula pedestrian fatality

Associated Press

MISSOULA – Missoula County prosecutors have decided not to pursue felony charges against a distracted driver who struck and killed an 18-year-old Missoula man as he walked along a sidewalk.

County Attorney Fred Van Valkenburg said Thursday that the city attorney’s office is likely to charge Yoon He Cho with misdemeanor careless driving for the April 1 crash that killed Chance Geery.

Van Valkenburg said he told Geery’s family that he did not think he could meet the burden of proof to gain a conviction on a negligent homicide charge.

An investigation found Cho hadn’t been drinking, speeding or texting, but was distracted for some reason. Cho, 38, is an associate professor at the University of Montana who moved to the U.S. from South Korea in 2010.

Cho’s attorney Paul Ryan said his client probably will plead guilty to the misdemeanor at her initial court appearance, which is expected to take place early this week.

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