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Columbus man gets 10 years on probation for motorcycle crash that killed passenger


COLUMBUS, Montana — A 44-year-old Columbus man has been given a 10-year probationary sentence for a drunken driving crash that killed the passenger on his motorcycle.

The Stillwater County News reports District Judge Blair Jones sentenced John Bryce Newkirk on Aug. 21 for vehicular homicide while under the influence.

Prosecutors say Newkirk's blood-alcohol level was 0.177 at the time of a June 9, 2013, crash on Highway 10 east of Columbus. His passenger, 48-year-old Natalie LeBlanc, died four days later at a Billings hospital. Court records say neither were wearing helmets.

Jones also sentenced Newkirk to perform 25 hours of community service and fined him $1,585.

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