Marvin Knutson with his grand-daughter. MTN News photo provided by the family

GREAT FALLS – Jaroslav Kleberc, the truck driver accused of negligently causing the death of Marvin Knutson, appeared in court in Great Falls on Thursday.

Kleberc pleaded not guilty to negligent homicide, tampering with physical evidence, and failure to remain at a crash scene.

According to the Montana Highway Patrol, the semi truck was southbound on I-15 when Kleberc turned into the “authorized only” section in the median to get to the weigh station.

Knutson, driving a a Dodge Caravan, was northbound on I-15 when the semi turned and entered the northbound lane.

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The Caravan moved into the passing lane to avoid the semi but still made contact with the right rear side of the trailer.

Kleberc continued into the weigh station, stopped for a moment and then drove away.

Court documents alleged that after the crash, Kleberc stopped in Hardin, where farmers saw red transfer paint and damages on Kelberc’s trailer. He told the farmers that he had hit a deer.

Kleberc was later pulled over in Colorado by the Springfield Police Department, but court documents stated Kleberc had his trailer repaired by that time, so police officers could not match the trailer.

Kleberc was finally arrested in Katy, Texas, on April 18.

Judge Greg Pinski set Kleberc’s trial to begin on Oct. 17.

MTN’s David Sherman also contributed to this report

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