Deadly dispute

A deadly dispute occurred in this driveway in Butte's Williamsburg neighborhood in April 2018. Dawn Marie Simon was recently arrested in connection with the incident.

On Monday, Butte-Silver Bow County District Court Judge Robert Whelan unsealed the case file detailing the charges filed against the woman arrested in connection with the dispute that left a 45-year-old man dead in the Williamsburg neighborhood last April.

According to district court documents, a warrant for Dawn Marie Simon was issued by the Butte-Silver Bow County Attorney’s office on January 22, 2019.

This was the same day Simon was charged with failure to render aid in accident involving death, a felony; criminal trespass to property, a misdemeanor; driving a motor vehicle without a driver’s license, a misdemeanor; and driving a motor vehicle without insurance, a misdemeanor.

If convicted of all four charges, Simon could face a maximum of 10 years in prison, six months in county jail and $51,500 in fines.

The charges stem from extensive investigation into a series of events that occurred on April 19, 2018, court documents say.

Sometime before 6 p.m., court documents allege, Simon’s 14-year-old daughter was reportedly riding her horse on the property of the man identified as the victim in the incident.

Butte police asked that the 45-year-old victim not be identified.

According to interviews police conducted with witnesses, Simon, and her daughter, the victim reportedly approached the young teen and told her to get off of his property, which was marked with no trespassing signs. The teen was allegedly following a moose in the area, and was on her cell phone talking with Simon at the time the victim approached her.

Simon reportedly told the teen to return home so that she and her daughter could drive to the victim’s residence and talk with him in person.

Shortly after the teen left the victim’s property on her horse, she and Simon allegedly drove past the posted entrance to the victim’s property in a white, 1988 Chevrolet dual-tired truck, court documents say. Simon and the victim then allegedly got into a loud verbal argument.

After the verbal dispute, court documents say Simon got back into her truck and reversed down the victim’s driveway. As she was leaving, Simon reportedly ran over some landscape lighting, which allegedly incited the victim to approach her truck again.

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Court documents say Simon then started driving away from the victim’s property, which is when he reportedly jumped onto the truck’s siding, grabbing onto the divider between the front and back passenger side doors through the opened window.

According to Montana Highway Patrol's analysis of a neighbor’s video surveillance footage that captured part of the ensuing incident, Simon’s truck was traveling up the hill about 25 miles per hour as it left the victim’s driveway.

Due to the terrain in this area, witnesses were unable to determine if the victim fell or jumped off of the truck’s siding, but the truck did “buck up as if it were going over a large bump,” according to the witness accounts detailed in the court documents.

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Witnesses then located the victim severely injured on the road near the intersection of Hyde Park and Peru Flast, and called 911 around 6 p.m.

At 6:04 p.m., police reportedly received a call from Simon, who wanted to speak with an officer but allegedly did not request an ambulance for the victim, court documents say. Officers met Simon at the front of Hollow Contracting on Greenwood Avenue, just under a mile from where the incident occurred.

The victim was unconscious and breathing at the scene, but died later as a result of his injuries, court documents say. His autopsy report listed his cause of death as “Multiple Blunt Force Injuries,” and the manner of those injuries as “Accident.”

In the several months of investigation that followed the incident, law enforcement officials determined Simon was not under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time, and located a muddy shoe print and hand print consistent with the victim reportedly standing on the truck siding and holding onto its passenger side via the window. Investigators also located horse hoof prints around the victim’s property, court documents state.

As a result of these investigative findings, the Butte-Silver Bow County Attorney’s Office determined Simon knew or reasonably should have known that she had been in an accident with the victim, who died as a result of the accident. Court documents state Simon failed to stop her truck at the scene of the accident, or as close to it as possible, and failed to help the victim, as required by state law.

Simon also knowingly entered and remained unlawfully on the victim’s property, and did not have a driver’s license or insurance on the truck she was driving at the incident.

About four months after the felony and three misdemeanor charges were filed against Simon, she was arrested in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, by Kootenai County law enforcement on May 16, 2019. She bonded out of custody the next day, according to Kootenai County Sheriff’s Office records.

There were no hearings for Simon scheduled in Butte-Silver Bow County District Court as of Monday afternoon.

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