GREAT FALLS -- An Eastern Montana man was sentenced Wednesday to federal prison for a 2015 drunk driving crash that left his best friend dead.
Thomas Scott, 21, was sentenced in U.S. District Court in Great Falls to 15 months in prison on one count of involuntary manslaughter.
Prosecutors said Scott, a resident of Chelsea west of Poplar, was the designated driver but he drank and got behind the wheel of a pickup truck.
On the way home, Scott swerved and rolled the vehicle on BIA Route 1 on the Fort Peck Indian Reservation.
His 19-year-old passenger, Joseph Hanson of Culbertson, was ejected and killed.
Defense attorneys argued that Scott has been suffering with the guilt for years.
“I pray every day, hoping that his family will someday forgive me,” said Thomas in a letter to the court. “I’m doing everything that I can to forgive myself. Whoever knew trying to forgive yourself was one of the hardest things to do. “No matter what, I’ll always have a piece missing from my heart. Joseph was my best friend in the entire world. He was my brother. There is no one in this world who could replace him.”
The judge ordered Scott supervised release for two years after his release.