A Hamilton woman was charged Wednesday with crashing an SUV into a home’s living room in the middle of the night last May and narrowly missing its owner.
Lindsey Diane Jacobson, 30, appeared before Ravalli County Justice Jim Bailey on a felony count of criminal endangerment and misdemeanor charges of driving with a suspended license and failure to give immediate notice of an accident.
A Montana Highway Patrol Trooper’s dogged five-month investigation eventually led to Jacobson’s arrest, according to the charging documents.
The crash occurred about 12:30 a.m. on Hamilton’s April Lane on May 8.
The 78-year-old homeowner was sitting in her living room when a vehicle backed into the home at high speed, broke through a wall and windows and missed striking her by 3 feet before coming to a stop.
The driver then placed the vehicle in drive and drove out of the house, across the lawn and onto April Lane. It fled at a high rate of speed that was captured on a neighbor’s security camera.
The camera depicted a black SUV that turned left onto Old Corvallis Road as it drove south from the scene.
Montana Highway Patrol Trooper Pat Heaney took over the investigation. He found a rear spoiler of a vehicle near a shattered window and a broken taillight that was left at the scene.
The spoiler’s part number showed that it belonged to a 2001 to 2007 Toyota Highlander.
Heaney confirmed there had only been six registrations for that model of vehicle in Ravalli County over the past year. He was able to locate five of the six. None of those had been in an accident.
The sixth vehicle was registered to Victoria Jo Webster, whose son had previously been involved with law enforcement, the affidavit said. Webster did not return Heaney’s calls.
On May 14, Heaney was driving by the Webster residence and noticed an older man standing outside. The man identified himself as Webster’s husband. The man then voluntarily said that his son was on the run because of a crash that had occurred with the Highlander, the affidavit said.
The man also told Heaney he doubted his son was driving because he didn’t have a driver’s license.
Shortly thereafter, Victoria Jo Webster contacted Heaney and told him that Jacobson was the driver of the vehicle on the night of the crash and she had hidden it at her mother’s residence, the affidavit said.
Heaney knew Jacobson lived with her mother on Alice Avenue. He attempted to make contact with someone at the residence, but no one answered the door. He could hear a dog barking and footsteps inside the home after he knocked, the affidavit said.
The next day, the trooper overheard an ambulance call at the Jacobson home. He drove to the home and made contact with Jacobson’s mother, who told him she hadn’t seen her daughter in over a week.
Heaney asked Jacobson’s mother why her car was parked on the street and not in the garage. She replied she parked outside during the summer months. He then asked if there was a black Highlander parked in her garage. She told him her daughter had parked something in there, but she didn’t know what it was. When Heaney asked if she was willing to open the garage, she told him not without a warrant.
Later that day, Heaney spoke to Webster again. He reported that both his son and wife had told him Jacobson was driving the vehicle that day.
Heaney applied for a search warrant. He found a 2006 Highlander registered to Victoria Jo Webster in the Jacobson garage. Heaney was able to match parts of the vehicle left at the scene to the vehicle.
The court issued a warrant for Jacobson’s arrest on Aug 4. She was arrested Tuesday. Bailey set bond at $25,000.