White Bird teen charged in fatal crash

— A White Bird juvenile has been charged with felony vehicular manslaughter in connection with a fatality accident on U.S. Highway 95 last summer.

Forrest J. Pilant, 16, is set for a Feb. 15 pretrial hearing in magistrate court.

The charge resulted from a July 5, 2016, single-vehicle accident four miles north of White Bird. According to the Idaho State Police report, Pilant was driving a 2005 Chevrolet Trailblazer southbound when he attempted to pass four vehicles also traveling south. While attempting to pass, Pilant realized vehicles were in the northbound land and attempted to return to the southbound lane where he lost control, and the vehicle left the road and rolled, coming to rest against the southbound embankment.

Six passengers were in the vehicle, of whom, Jose L. Santos, 19, of Grangeville, was ejected from the vehicle and died at the scene.

The criminal charge alleges Pilant acted with gross negligence, driving at an excessive speed – 88 mph in a 65 mph zone – down a steep grade while attempting to pass multiple vehicles. He is also alleged at the time to have been in violation of his driver’s license restriction requiring an adult older than 21 to be present in the car.

The case was filed in mid-September, however, due to Pilant being a juvenile, the record was not opened until he entered a plea at a Dec. 21 admit/deny hearing.

ISP investigated the case.

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