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Trial for Young Running Crane’s death enters day two

The trial against Shayanna England entered its second day Tuesday.

England has been charged with involuntary manslaughter and assault resulting in serious bodily injury in the death of Eljay Young Running Crane, who died in January 2018 in Heart Butte after England struck him with a car.

The two doctors at the Blackfeet Community Hospital who treated Young Running Crane started Tuesday’s trial with testimonies. Dr. Alphonso Torres described some of the injuries Young Running Crane sustained and stated Young Running Crane died around 10:30 a.m. on January 6, 2018.

Montana Highway Patrol Trooper Monte Richmond also testified. Richmond had responded to the crash and processed the scene.

He said his job was to mark evidence and take photos. Throughout the area, he found a hat, shoes and a bottle of Black Velvet.

Richmond also noted the speed limit of BIA Route 1, the road the incident occurred. The speed limit was 35 miles per hour.

MHP Trooper Kurt Miller was also called to the scene in Heart Butte. His job is to investigate accidents resulting in deaths or serious injuries.

While mapping the incident area, Miller noted the tire tracks of England’s vehicle started in the southbound lane even though she was traveling north at that time.

The tire tracks went into the middle of the intersection and then off the road on the east side. The vehicle traveled into an embankment, then into a fence, and came to a rest after hitting some oil barrels.

Since the airbags deployed, Miller retrieved the information from the air bag control module, which records the five seconds before the impact that causes the air bags to deploy.

Miller found the vehicle was going 90 miles per hour 3.4 seconds before it hit the fence. He estimated the vehicle was going 38 mph when it struck Young Running Crane. This was 1.6 seconds before the vehicle hit the fence.

Miller found that at one point England tried to swerve, but since the vehicle was going so fast, she was unable to.

He also found England had her foot on the brakes throughout the five seconds and at one point jammed her foot into the brakes. He said he believed she did that when she saw Young Running Crane.

The government then rested their case and England was the first witness for the defense.

England said she started dating Young Running Crane in 7th or 8th grade and he started to abuse and control her as a freshman in high school.

In 2014, England said she was riding and drinking in a car with Young Running Crane when he started hitting her. She said he pulled her out of the car and knocked out four of her teeth, broke her nose in seven places, and fractured her wrist.

After the incident, Young Running Crane went to the Montana Youth Challenge Academy in Dillon.

On the night of the crash, England’s testimony is similar to Tayleigh Calf Boss Ribs and Julian Calfrobe’s testimonies.

At one point, England said Young Running Crane was upset because a guy was calling her and they saw one of her ex-boyfriends. England said Young Running Crane wanted to drive to Havre to confront the male who kept calling her.

She said she refused and tried to calm him down. She told the court they visited his aunt’s home and went inside. Calf Boss Ribs and Calfrobe stayed in the car.

After some time inside, England said she tried to leave, but Young Running Crane blocked the door. England testified that she tried to trick him by saying she’d give him one more ride around town. When he left the room, she said she ran out of the door, got into the car, and drove off.

As she drove off, she said she told Calf Boss Ribs and Calfrobe that Young Running Crane was acting weird.

England testified she wanted to go home to Browning because she was scared. She dropped Calfrobe off at his home in Heart Butte and started to leave with Calf Boss Ribs for Browning on BIA Route 1.

As she was nearing Heart Butte’s post office, she said she saw Young Running Crane standing in the middle of the road at the intersection. England testified she tried to go left, but he moved left so she went right and into the ditch.

She said she does not remember hitting Young Running Crane. She did recall seeing the air bag deploy and Calf Boss Ribs running to a nearby home.

After helping Calf Boss Ribs to the home, England called 911 from her cell phone. She said she thought Young Running Crane was going to hurt her because she did not know where he was.

She testified she did not mean to hurt anyone.

During the cross examination, prosecutors asked England why she did not call the cops after leaving Young Running Crane’s home. She replied that she was going home, so why call the police.

She also agreed she had other options that night.

The defense rested their case after two more witnesses.

Closing arguments in the case are Wednesday morning.

Margaret DeMarco

Margaret DeMarco

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