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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Sirens & Gavels

CdA tribesman jailed for deadly car crash

A man who has survived three one-car crashes on the same road near Plummer, Idaho, 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, now 25, 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 is to be arraigned today on one count of involuntary manslaughter. The charge carries a maximum eight years in prison. 

Matt has been in two other crashes on Lovell Valley Road but was not driving in either.

In March 2009, Matt's sister, Veronica J. Matt, and mother, Juanita A. Garcia, 42, died after the 2003 Chevy Blazer Veronica Matt was driving veered off the road.

Joseph Matt was in the car, along with 25-year-old Dianna Matheson, of Worley, niece of former tribal councilman David Matheson, tribal officials and Idaho State Police said.

Joseph Matt and Diana Matheson also were injured on the road in a crash on Lovell Valley Road in October 2000. The two were passengers in a 1987 Chevy Cavalier that went off the road.

Public safety news from the Inland Northwest and beyond.