May 31 Montana News Briefs

Friday, May 31, 2019

Montana shooting victim returning home a paraplegic

HELENA (AP) — A Montana man who was shot eight times during a shooting spree that killed another man and critically injured a highway patrol trooper is returning home this weekend. Casey Blanchard of Stevensville was treated at the University of Utah Hospital after being shot March 14 in Missoula. Blanchard’s mother, Julie, also was shot and his friend, Shelley Hays, was killed. The Montana Department of Justice released a statement from Blanchard’s family Friday saying he suffered injuries to his chest, spine, abdomen and both legs and is a paraplegic. The family planned to drive back to Montana Saturday. Montana Highway Patrol Trooper Wade Palmer, also from Stevensville, was shot in the head, face and neck early on March 15 while searching for the gunman in the Missoula shooting. Palmer was released from the same hospital on May 22.

2 die in separate Billings crashes in less than 12 hours

BILLINGS (AP) — Police in Billings are investigating after two people died in crashes in less than 12 hours. A man died after crashing his motorcycle into a roundabout on the west end of Billings in a crash that was reported at about 11:30 p.m. Thursday. Police aren’t sure when it happened. Lt. Riley Finnegan says skid marks on the road indicated the motorcyclist may not have seen the roundabout. He was not wearing a helmet. Officials weren’t immediately able to identify the victim. On Friday morning, less than three miles away, a woman died when a sport utility vehicle collided with her car and another vehicle. Officers are investigating the cause of the crash. The victim’s name has not been released.

Smoke from Canadian wildfires drifts into 5 US states

HELENA (AP) — Smoke from large wildfires in Canada’s Alberta province has drifted into five U.S. states and is causing haze and air quality issues. More than two dozen fires are burning in Alberta and 10,000 people have been forced from their homes. The smoke has drifted into Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Washington state and Wyoming. The government agency Alberta Wildfire reports the largest blaze is out of control about 450 miles (733 kilometers) north of Edmonton and has burned 887 square miles (2,300 square kilometers) of land. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency rated Helena’s air quality as unhealthy Friday morning while the air quality in the Montana cities of Great Falls and Lewistown was rated as unhealthy for sensitive groups such as people with asthma or heart disease.

Chronic wasting disease found in northwest Montana

HELENA (AP) — A white-tailed doe that was killed in the northwestern Montana town of Libby has tested positive for chronic wasting disease. Fish, Wildlife & Parks officials said Thursday that residents reported seeing the sick and emaciated animal, and initial tests showed it had the deadly brain wasting disease. Also known as CWD, it can affect the nervous systems of deer, elk and moose. The deer found in Libby marks the first time CWD has been detected in the wild, west of the Continental Divide in Montana. CWD is slow-moving but can result in long-term population declines within affected herds if left unmanaged. It has been detected in Carbon, Liberty, Hill, Blaine, Phillips, Valley, Daniels, Sheridan and now Lincoln counties.

Trial delayed for man accused of lying about revenge talk

HELENA (AP) — A Montana judge has delayed the trial of a New York man accused of lying to authorities about discussions he had about joining the Islamic State group and avenging the shootings at two New Zealand mosques. U.S. District Judge Dana Christensen on Wednesday re-set the trial date for 21-year-old Fabjan Alameti from June 24 to Sept. 3. Alameti waived his right to a speedy trial and his attorney asked for more time to analyze the more than 4,000 pages of documents and recordings that are part of the case. Alameti was arrested at a Bozeman gun range on April

3. He has pleaded not guilty to making false statements involving terrorism and possession of a firearm while using marijuana. Alameti’s public defender argues his client’s statements were protected under the First Amendment.