NewsLocal News


Butte family of fatal hit-and-run victim releases statement

Posted at 7:52 PM, Feb 13, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-14 11:34:42-05

BUTTE — The family of a young man who was killed in Uptown Butte in a fatal hit-and-run incident last July recently released a statement about the dangers of drinking and driving and the terrible price they say they’ve paid.

Austin Nieves, 23, was killed, and his 21-year-old brother Connor was injured after the pair was hit by an alleged intoxicated driver while they were walking on West Granite Street near the campus of Montana Tech the evening of July 3, 2023. Shania O’Brien, 21, faces a felony negligent homicide charge in this incident.

The Nieves family recently filed a wrongful death civil suit against O’Brien and her relatives.

Vicevich Law released a statement on behalf of the Nieves family stating, “Austin’s loss and Connor’s devastation are the stark reminders that another person’s poor judgment and negligence can have real life consequences.“

“Please exercise good judgment whenever driving and do not allow anyone that you know to drink and drive.”

According to the Montana Department of Transportation, Montana has the highest fatality rates in the nation for the number of deaths caused by impaired drivers. In 2020, 66 percent of all fatalities were the result of impaired driving, up from 58 percent in 2019.

Leo McCarthy of Butte started Mariah’s Challenge after his daughter was killed by a drunk driver 16 years ago in Butte. The purpose was to change the culture in Butte by encouraging minors not to drink and never get in a car with someone who has been drinking.

“And also educating youth at the dinner table, which is the most powerful place I’ve always said, and by doing that you basically can save a generation or generations by one youth at a time,” said McCarthy.