NewsCrime and Courts


Driver accused of hitting girl who was getting off school bus enters plea

Patricia Berliner in court on April 30, 2020
Posted at 3:21 PM, Apr 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-30 17:22:19-04

Patricia Berliner, the driver charged with with hitting and severely injuring a child as she was getting off a school bus near Whitefish, was arraigned in Flathead County District Court on Thursday.

Berliner, whose vehicle hit 6-year old Jordana Hubble in early November, pleaded not guilty to a charge of felony criminal endangerment and was released on her own recognizance. The charge carries a maximum term in the Montana State Prison of 10 years and a maximum fine of $50,000.

Berliner will next appear in court for a pre-trial conference July 15 and a jury trial has been set for August 17.

Court documents state that “the defendant knowingly engaged in conduct that creates a substantial risk of death or serious bodily injury to others, namely Jordana Hubble."

The Montana Highway Patrol previously told MTN News the driver - now identified as Berliner - failed to stop for the bus when it had its flashing lights and stop sign up on US Highway 93 North near mile marker 137. According to witness statements, Berliner said she did not think she had to stop since the bus was in the other lane.

Jordana was taken to Nexus Children's Hospital in Houston in January to continue her recovery from the injuries she sustained in the incident. Family members say that Jordana made significant progress within several days of being admitted to the "coma emergence program."

MTN News was told a few days later that Jordana is now considered to be in a 'minimally conscious' state. Rather than being in a continuous coma, she now suffers from what her doctor called a Disorder of Consciousness, which is a product of her Diffusal Axonal Brain Injury. She was also smiling and laughing, and at times appeared to recognize family members. The family says they're optimistic about her treatment at this facility.