Montana man convicted in Mountrail County fatal crash appeals case
BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - A 65-year-old Montana man convicted of negligent homicide for his role in a 2018 fatal head-on crash in Mountrail County brought his case before the State Supreme Court Thursday.
Investigators said Douglas Landis was driving a semi-tractor pulling a trailer on Highway 23 in October 2018, when he crossed the center line and collided with a pickup.
The driver and passenger in the pickup both died.
Last August, a jury convicted him of two counts of negligent homicide and the courts ordered him to serve 18 months in prison.
Landis appealed the lower court’s denial for motion of acquittal.
In Thursday’s virtual hearing, Landis’ attorney argued he was not under the influence of alcohol and was actually going below the speed limit due to the weather that day.
“This is a negligent homicide essentially where the state showed no case of negligence in the driving behavior. So we believe it was an error for the court to deny the motion for acquittal,” said Kiara Kraus-Parr, Landis’ attorney.
State’s Attorney Wade Enget countered that during the arrest, Landis mentioned that he was struggling to stay in his lane due to icy road conditions.
“The state’s reconstructionist, Christa Kovarik, that the impact took place in the east bound lane and again this was on a curve it wasn’t on a corner, and the impact took place in the east bound lane, Mr. Landis was going west bound,” said Enget.
After Thursday’s oral arguments, the Supreme Court will review the case and make a ruling.
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