Great Falls Area News

Jan 14, 2013 5:55 PM by MTN News

Great Falls fire marshal charged in man's death

GREAT FALLS - Charges have been filed against Doug Bennyhoff, the city fire marshal, in connection with the death of Orville "Lee" Jones in September 2012.

The charges were filed on Monday in Justice Court in Great Falls and include one count of misdemeanor negligent endangerment and five counts of obstructing a peace officer or other public servant.

In September, Bennyhoff was at the scene of an incident that resulted in Orville's death.

Bennyhoff was present at the scene, although not on duty, and authorities in September said that "his actions may have contributed to this person's death."

Jones' son Chris told MTN News in September that his father and Bennyhoff were both at the Barrel O' Bucks Casino at Central Avenue West and 6th Street on Saturday, Sept. 15; Jones lived across the street from the casino.

Chris says that his father allegedly fell out of a chair as Bennyhoff attempted to push him across the street. According to Chris, the fall resulted in his father suffering a head injury.

Jones died on Sept. 21. He was 62.

Bennyhoff was placed on administrative leave from his role as Great Falls Fire Marshal shortly after the investigation was launched.

Here are the charges as outlined in the court documents:

COUNT I - NEGLIGENT ENDANGERMENT, in violation of Mont. Code Ann. § 45-5-208 (2011). The Defendant did then and there, on or about September 15, 2012, in Great Falls, Cascade County, Montana, negligently engage in conduct that created a substantial risk of death or serious bodily injury to Orville Jones when he propelled Jones in a rolling chair in such a manner as to eject him therefrom and cause Jones' head to impact the pavement with such force that it caused an injury or injuries which resulted in Jones' death.

COUNT II - OBSTRUCTING A PEACE OFFICER OR OTHER PUBLIC SERVANT, in violation of Mont. Code Ann. § 45-7-302 (2011). The Defendant did then and there, on or about September 15, 2012, in Great Falls, Cascade County, Montana, obstruct a public servant, namely 911 dispatcher Leslie Jimenez, when he, in a telephone call to 911, knowingly impaired the performance of 911 dispatch in requiring appropriate emergency medical response to Orville Jones by falsely relaying the nature and mechanism of, and his involvement in an injury to Orville Jones.

COUNT III - OBSTRUCTING A PEACE OFFICER OR OTHER PUBLIC SERVANT, in violation of Mont. Code Ann. § 45-7-302 (2011). The Defendant did then and there, on or between September 15 and 16, 2012, in Great Falls, Cascade County, Montana, obstruct a public servant, namely Talbert Bryan of Great Falls Fire Rescue, when he knowingly impaired the performance of Great Falls Fire Rescue to provide appropriate medical response to Orville Jones by falsely relaying the nature and mechanism of, and his involvement in an injury to Orville Jones.

COUNT IV - OBSTRUCTING A PEACE OFFICER OR OTHER PUBLIC SERVANT, in violation of Mont. Code Ann. § 45-7-302 (2011). The Defendant did then and there, on or between September 15 and 16, 2012, in Great Falls, Cascade County, Montana, obstruct a public servant, namely Timothy Harris of Great Falls Fire Rescue, when he knowingly impaired the performance of Great Falls Fire Rescue to provide appropriate medical response to Orville Jones by falsely relaying the nature and mechanism of, and his involvement in an injury to Orville Jones.

COUNT V - OBSTRUCTING A PEACE OFFICER OR OTHER PUBLIC SERVANT, in violation of Mont. Code Ann. § 45-7-302 (2011). The Defendant did then and there, on or between September 15 and 16, 2012, in Great Falls, Cascade County, Montana, obstruct a public servant, namely Jason Baker of Great Falls Fire Rescue, when he knowingly impaired the performance of Great Falls Fire Rescue to provide appropriate medical response to Orville Jones by falsely relaying the nature and mechanism of, and his involvement in an injury to Orville Jones.

COUNT VI - OBSTRUCTING A PEACE OFFICER OR OTHER PUBLIC SERVANT, in violation of Mont. Code Ann. § 45-7-302 (2011). The Defendant did then and there, on or between September 15 and 16, 2012, in Great Falls, Cascade County, Montana, obstruct a public servant, namely Sidney Hirst of Great Falls Emergency Services, when he knowingly impaired the performance of Great Falls Emergency Services to provide appropriate medical response to Orville Jones by falsely relaying the nature and mechanism of, and his involvement in an injury to Orville Jones.

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