Drew charged with vehicular homicide, drug possession following Potomac crash
January 5, 2023
By Gwyneth Hyndman
A local woman who was struck and killed by a vehicle after stopping to help stranded motorists on Hwy 200 on Dec. 21 has been named by Missoula County Sheriff and Coroner TJ McDermott.
Victoria E. Richardson, 61, of Potomac, had pulled over near mile marker 18 to assist in the recovery of a vehicle that had slid off the road, just before 7 p.m. that night. Court documents state that a Toyota 4Runner driven by Kerry Glenn Drew, 68, of Seeley Lake, drove off the road and hit Richardson, who died at the scene.
“Our heartfelt condolences are with family and friends during this very difficult time,” a press release from the sheriff’s office stated on Tuesday, Dec. 27, when Richardson’s name was released that morning.
Drew has been charged with vehicular homicide while under influence, a felony and criminal possession of dangerous drugs, also a felony. Two others were injured at the scene as a result of the crash, and court documents state that there could be further charges once the full extent of the injuries are known.
Court documents state that on or about the late night of Dec. 21 and early morning of Dec. 22, Montana Highway Patrol Troopers were dispatched to Hwy 200 near mile marker 18. It was determined that two people outside the vehicles were hooking up a tow rope to dislodge a stuck passenger car from a snowbank using a pickup parked on the shoulder facing oncoming traffic.
Law enforcement determined that Drew was driving a Toyota 4Runner and approached the scene, then drove off the roadway to the right, striking the driver’s side door of the pickup and striking Richardson, who landed approximately 140 feet away from the initial impact, court documents state. Richardson passed away on the scene.
Drew’s vehicle also struck the passenger car while another female was inside the car. A male was underneath the car attaching the tow rope. Both the female inside the car and the male underneath the car sustained injuries, but the full extent of those injuries is currently unknown, court documents state.
The male’s wife was sitting in the pickup and witnessed the events, stating Drew appeared to be speeding and suddenly steered right, driving off the road and into the pedestrians and stranded passenger car, court documents state. There was no other traffic on the roadway, she stated.
Court documents state that Trooper Wes Whitlatch “observed [Drew] had a pale and dazed expression on his face, had features that appeared sunken, and had poor oral hygiene all consistent with methamphetamine use.
“[Drew] initially stated he believed he saw an oncoming vehicle encroach toward his lane, steered off the right, and thought he struck another vehicle,” court documents state. “The pickup had its headlights on. Trooper Whitlatch noted in his experience unimpaired drivers can determine whether a car is stopped or passing in the oncoming traffic lane.”
As the crash investigation continued, Trooper Whitlatch asked a series of questions. Drew stated he would test positive for methamphetamine, and he used methamphetamine that morning, court documents state. Trooper Whitlatch was also advised by two other individuals, a Missoula County Sheriff’s Deputy, and a Potomac Fireman, that Drew “is a known methamphetamine user.”
Drew was arrested and mirandized. Though he initially agreed to testing, he later withdrew his consent when he was transported to the hospital. Trooper Whitlatch applied for, and was granted a warrant for a blood sample from Drew - the state is waiting on the toxicology results, court documents state. After Drew was transported to Missoula County Jail, jail staff found a baggie with a small crystalline substance consistent with methamphetamine in Drew’s sock, court documents state. The State has requested the substance be submitted to the Montana State Crime Lab for testing and is currently waiting for an update on the injuries sustained by the male and female at the crash.
“The State anticipates further charges when the extent of those injuries are known,” court documents state.