NewsCrime and Courts


Florence woman charged for crash that killed her 10-year-old son

Megan Beard
Posted at 2:08 PM, Mar 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-08 16:17:39-05

MISSOULA — A Florence woman accused of driving drunk and crashing, resulting in the death of her son on US Highway 93, is behind bars.

Megan Beard, 34 years old, has been charged with vehicular homicide while under the influence, negligent vehicular assault, two counts of child criminal endangerment, and criminal endangerment.

The multi-vehicle crash happened at around 11:30 a.m. on February 15 on US Highway 93 between Missoula and Lolo in the "S" curves.

The Montana Highway Patrol reported Beard was driving a minivan south when she lost control in the curve, crossed the centerline, and drove into oncoming traffic. Beard collided with a Chevy work van and a Chevy sedan. Beard's minivan then went off the road and overturned.

MHP says Beard was not wearing her seatbelt and was thrown from her vehicle. Her 10-year-old son died from injuries sustained in the crash.

Her two other children, ages 8 and 6, sustained minor chest injuries from their seatbelts. The driver of the sedan sustained serious injuries.

Beard supplied a blood sample, where her BAC was determined to be .221, nearly three times the legal limit.

MHP applied for a search warrant for Beard's minivan where they found eight empty two-ounce bottles of baking extract in the glove box. MHP also found five full two-ounce bottles of baking extract in a bag in the middle floorboard. The minivan's speedometer needle was stuck at approximately 72 miles per hour.

In the arrest warrant, Beard's parents told authorities she drinks assorted flavors of baking extracts to get drunk. The State Crime Lab noted in the arrest warrant that alcohol from baking extracts would appear as ethanol on a toxicology test, the same as wine, beer, or liquor.

In the arrest warrant, Beard's boyfriend reported that she left Florence with the three children and two dogs to go to Missoula, where she dropped off one of her dogs off at the vet.

She then dropped off the three children with her boyfriend.

He said Beard returned about an hour later and picked up the children where he reported Beard appeared tired but nothing out of the ordinary.

Beard then took the children and drove back to Florence where the fatal accident occurred a short time later.

Beard is being held in the Missoula County jail. Click here to view the court documents.