Butte man to serve 10 years for vehicular homicide


BUTTE, Mont. - A Butte man apologized at his sentencing for hitting and killing a pedestrian with his truck last March.

"I only hope that when I continue to accept full responsibility for my actions that I can demonstrate the sincerity of my apologies and true remorse of the cause of this pain," said Jack Lean.

Judge Brad Newman sentenced Jack Lean to 20 years at the Montana State Prison with 10 suspended. Lean pleaded guilty in September to driving drunk and hitting Thomas Kelly, 80, with his pickup. Kelly was walking in a crosswalk from St. Anne's on March 3 when Lean hit him going 26 miles per hour. Kelly was hospitalized and later died from his injuries. Court records say Lean's blood-alcohol level was .12, about one and a half times the legal limit. Court was divided between family of Kelly and friends and family of Lean. Robert Woody, nephew to Kelly, read a statement from the victim's family to the court and Lean.

"The feeling of myself and probably all of our that it makes it appear that my uncle's life was pretty cheap," said Robert Woody. "Mr. Lean....we believe you should take full responsibility for the decision that you drink and drive." Lean's attorney, Frank Joseph, told the court Lean has been taking responsibility since the day of the incident.

"He's punishing himself every day and he realizes the seriousness of his crime. He realizes the impact this had on the Kelly family, Mr. Kelly, on his own family and on himself," said Frank Joseph. Judge Newman also ordered Lean to pay $21,361 in restitution.