A man who has avoided prison time twice for negligent homicide in a 2013 car wreck in Butte that killed his best friend was in jail again Friday for more alleged probation violations.
Cody John Richards, 22, had been free on $50,000 bond while awaiting sentencing on May 17 for violating terms of a second deferred sentence. He was arrested again Tuesday after allegedly testing positive for cocaine, court records show.
He also failed to report to a 24-7 program for monitoring alcohol and drug use, according to documents filed in District Court on Thursday by Montana Adult Probation & Parole.
Richards was booked into the Butte Detention Center on Tuesday, and his probation officer is recommending he remain there until his May 17 sentencing for previous violations.
“He has proven he is not able to stay sober in the community, and as a result continues to threaten the safety of those around him,” the officer said in a violation report.
Richards admitted in February that he had violated a second deferred sentence by drinking alcohol, testing positive for cocaine, and later getting arrested for DUI in Jefferson County last November.
Before deferring sentencing a second time in June 2016, District Judge Kurt Krueger warned Richards that he would go to prison for failing its requirements again.
Richards first received a six-year deferred sentence in July 2015 after pleading guilty to negligent homicide in a 2013 Halloween crash that killed his best friend, 19-year-old “K.P.” Kiel Podgorski.
A former Butte Central High School athlete, Podgorski was thrown from a Dodge Durango driven by Richards after it careened down a steep embankment off Moose Creek Road. Richards, who was 19 at the time, and two other men were treated for injuries and released.
Defense attorney Gregory Jackson told the court that Richards had been drinking heavily the night before and as a result had an elevated blood alcohol level near the legal limit when the crash occurred.
Richards failed the terms of his first deferred sentence by not completing the Knights program at WATCH, a state Department of Corrections DUI treatment program. He had also tested positive for methamphetamine.
After that, Krueger agreed with prosecutors’ recommendations and deferred sentencing again with an added condition that Richards complete a state-run boot camp program.
Probation officers say Richards completed the boot camp program, but they received reports later that he had been drinking alcohol in local bars. They say he admitted to drinking and then tested positive for cocaine.
Police stopped Richards in Jefferson County on Nov. 21 on a report of a pickup truck “swerving all over the road.” Richards was driving, and a test showed his blood alcohol level at 0.166 — twice the legal limit.
According to the latest report filed this week, a probation officer requested a urine sample on Tuesday, and Richards tested positive for cocaine. “The defendant admitted to ingesting the drug,” the report said.
He also failed to report to the 24-7 program on April 30 and May 1.