Ronan woman involved in Highway 93 crash returned to county jail

by Scott Shindledecker
| October 17, 2020 9:05 AM

A Ronan woman accused of driving drunk during a fiery crash on U.S. 93 that left a man with serious injuries is behind bars in Lake County.

Stacy Leana Markus, 51, is lodged in the county jail on $100,000 bond after being charged with negligent vehicular assault.

According to court documents, on Aug. 16, Markus pulled from Eagle Pass Trail, near Ninepipes National Wildlife Refuge, onto U.S. 93 in front of a Suburban pulling a camper. The southbound Suburban ran into the rear of a pickup driven by Markus.

Both vehicles erupted into flames. The driver of the Suburban was trapped inside with a broken leg while the rest of the family, from North Dakota, were able to escape the Suburban as it caught fire.

A Mission Valley resident, Chad Killorn, stopped and helped pull the driver from the burning vehicle before it exploded. Killorn was aided by others in helping the man escape.

Investigating officers determined Markus showed signs of intoxication. A Montana Highway Patrol trooper noticed Markus’ eyes were watery and a Lake County Sheriff’s deputy gave her field sobriety tests, which she allegedly failed.

Markus was taken to the Lake County Jail, but she didn’t stay there long.

According to a court document, a justice of the peace released her on her own recognizance the day after the crash. Her release conditions include not being allowed to drink alcohol and an agreement to enter an alcohol treatment program.

On Aug. 30, Markus failed to provide a breath sample, but was allowed to remain free. But on consecutive days, Sept. 5-6, Markus provided breath samples that showed high levels of intoxication, according to court documents.

The samples prompted Lake County Chief Deputy Attorney James Lapotka to request a warrant for her arrest for violating her release conditions. Markus was arrested and jailed Sept. 11. Her bond is set at $100,000. Her trial date is set for Feb. 22.