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Homicide charge refiled against Absarokee man for 2013 hit-and-run incident

Posted at 3:54 PM, Aug 20, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-20 17:54:03-04

HELENA – The Montana Department of Justice has refiled homicide charges against an Absarokee man who allegedly ran over and killed another man in 2013.

Michael Thomas Holtz was charged in connection with the death of Forest Dana, 27, but charges were dismissed in 2016 because no one could positively identify him as the driver during the Absarokee Days festival

He now faces three counts: negligent homicide, failure to remain at the scene of an accident involving another person with serious bodily injury and tampering with evidence, according to documents provided by the state Thursday.

Judge Blair Jones ordered Holtz to appear in court in Stillwater County at 9:30 a.m. Sept. 7 for a first appearance. The charges were filed in Stillwater County last month by Chad Parker, an assistant Montana attorney general.

On July 28, 2013, Dana’s parents found his body in an alley near their home. Authorities later identified a blue Mazda belonging to Holtz driving at high speeds in Absarokee, but they found no witnesses to when Dana was struck.

Prosecutors had said both Dana and Holtz were very drunk that night. An autopsy indicated he had been run over and his spine severed.

Holtz had been scheduled for trial in 2016 but continued several times. Stillwater County Attorney Nancy Rohde dismissed the charges in February 2016.

In August 2016, Dana’s parents won a $4.6 million civil settlement against Hanson’s Five Spot Bar for overserving Holtz, who was not legally old enough to drink at the time.

Reporting by Ken Spencer for MTN News