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Woman charged with negligent homicide in Butte hit-and-run faces new civil suit from victim's family

Fatal hit-and-run in Butte
Posted at 4:44 PM, Feb 08, 2024

BUTTE — The family of a Butte man who was killed in the July 3rd hit-and-run last year has filed a wrongful death civil lawsuit against seven people in connection with the incident that took place on Granite Street in Butte.

Shania O’Brien currently faces criminal charges of negligent homicide and failure to render aid at the scene of an accident in the incident that took the life of 23-year-old Austin Nieves and injured his 21-year-old brother Connor.

The complaint filed on Feb. 6 states that O'Brien, who was 20 years old at the time, was intoxicated and speeding while driving her father Matthew O'Brien's Jeep when she struck the brothers and fled the scene.

Shania O'Brien and other parties including two women who were in the car during the fatal accident are accused of negligence and tampering with, hiding, or destroying evidence in the civil lawsuit. The complaint says that her father and other parties helped O'Brien and two friends flee the scene, hide the Jeep, and destroy evidence of O'Brien's intoxication.

"Defendants destroyed physical, chemical, biological and tangible evidence through unlawful conduct," states the complaint filed by Lawrence Henke, the attorney representing Connor Nieves, his mother Stacey Edwards, and his father Pedro Nieves as well as the estate of Austin Nieves.

Plaintiffs are seeking undisclosed monetary damages in the lawsuit.

Shania is currently free on a $200,000 bond ahead of her criminal trial, set to begin May 13, 2024.