A crash on the Eastside Highway that killed a Stevensville woman and sent three children to the hospital has resulted in a negligent homicide charge for the vehicle’s driver.
Jarrid K. Canfield, 37, of Stevensville will appear Thursday in Ravalli County Justice Court.
Canfield was assaulting his partner, Jordan Teeple, with the couple’s three children in the vehicle when the crash occurred about 5:30 p.m. Sept. 7 south of Florence, according to a charging affidavit.
Canfield initially told the Montana Highway Patrol that he had looked over at Teeple and the vehicle began to drift. He claimed he overcorrected, which caused the crash.
The children told a nurse and their grandfather that Canfield was physically assaulting their mother when the wreck occurred, the affidavit said.
Canfield was driving a 2005 Dodge Dakota northbound when he veered into the southbound lane, took evasive actions and overcorrected. The vehicle drove off the right side of the roadway and began to slide with the front side of the vehicle facing east. It traveled about 161 feet before it began to roll.
After several rolls, the vehicle landed on its roof and the left rear end collided with a tree. The impact spun the vehicle around 180 degrees and it came to a rest on its roof facing west.
Teeple was in the front passenger seat. She was ejected and partially pinned under the vehicle.
An 8-year-old girl was completely ejected. She sustained several broken bones in her back and a broken wrist. The other two girls were treated for lacerations and contusions.
One of the girls told her nurse at the hospital that her father had both hands off the steering wheel and was assaulting her mother when the crash occurred.
The other two girls told their grandfather that Canfield was assaulting their mother when the crash happened.
During a forensic interview at the First Step Resource Center in Missoula, one girl said Canfield hit their mother three times. The first hit nearly caused a crash, the affidavit said. After the second, he almost drove off the road and hit a tree. The final blow came after Canfield took both hands off the wheel and the crash occurred.
Another one of the sisters told the interviewer that they were all holding each other during the altercation because they were scared.
Canfield initially said he had his left hand on the steering wheel and that the couple was having a normal conversation.
In a subsequent interview on Sept. 16, Canfield told the trooper the couple was having a "heated discussion," the affidavit said. He reported that Teeple had said something to him and he reached over, pushed her leg and said “would you stop being that way.” The crash happened shortly after that, he said.