HAMILTON- A Hamilton man charged with striking and killing a 9-year-old Ravalli County boy Sunday afternoon made his first court appearance Monday afternoon in Ravalli County justice court.
Joseph John McNamara, 59, is charged with negligent homicide and failure to remain at an accident scene.
According to charging documents, Ravalli County dispatch received a report Sunday at approximately 12:55 pm of a hit-and-run in which a 9-year-old boy had been struck by a tan passenger van on Golf Course Road in Hamilton.
According to several witnesses who saw the crash, McNamara’s vehicle was traveling eastbound on Golf Course Road at an extremely high rate of speed when it struck the boy who was crossing the street on/or walking a scooter. Preliminary crash reports indicated the defendant was traveling at speeds nearly double the posted limit of 35 mph.
After hitting the child, witnesses reported McNamara exited the vehicle and approached the boy. The boy’s father ran from a nearby home and rendered aid to his son. The father asked McNamara to call 911, but instead, the defendant stated he needed to move his vehicle and drove away at a high rate of speed. The 9-year-old died shortly after the crash.
In court documents, authorities spoke to the defendant’s on-again, off-again girlfriend at her residence. The woman told authorities she was with the defendant prior to the crash at the Rotary Park, where she reported McNamara consumed at least one beer. She told authorities they got into a fight and she left the park to go home.
McNamara arrived at the woman’s home after the hit-and-run asking her for a ride because he “had hit something.” She refused and McNamara left the home.
After a five and a half hour search, the defendant was apprehended at a home in Hamilton.
The defendant refused a blood test and claimed he had “smoked something” after the crash. When Trooper Gane informed McNamara that he intended to obtain a search warrant for the defendant’s blood, McNamara responded: “after I hit that kid you have enough charges to lock me up for life.”
McNamara is being held in the Ravalli county detention center on $500,000 bond.
Clarification: In earlier news reports, the Ravalli County sheriff identified the victim as being 10 years old.