25 year-old Eduardo Lopez, who admitted that he drove drunk the wrong way down Interstate 90 and collided head-on with another vehicle, killing the female driver, was sentenced on Friday in Missoula District Court.

The victim, Shawna Wooten, was driving a Toyota Highlander that burst into flames after the collision, was killed in the crash. A Missoula County Sheriff’s Deputy pulled Lopez out of his truck and dragged him to safety to escape the burning vehicle.

Deputy County Attorney Brittany Williams asked Judge Robert L. ‘Dusty’ Deschamps for a sentence of 40 years in the Montana State Prison with 30 years suspended.

“The first county was vehicular homicide while under the influence, and then 15 subsequent counts of felony criminal endangerment,” said Williams. “He was on the Interstate for approximately 11 miles and encountered nearly 20 people, then ultimately hit and struck one woman who was killed. The State requested a 40 year term in the Montana State Prison with 20 suspended.”

Williams said Judge Deschamps had his own sentencing recommendation.

“Judge Deschamps sentenced Mr. Lopez on the first count to 30 years to the Department of Corrections with all suspended but five, and that was to run consecutive to counts two through 16 for which he was sentenced to 10 years, all suspended. So, in total, essentially a sentence of 40 years with 35 suspended, as well as 5,000 hours of community service.”

Williams said the chance that Lopez might spend no time behind bars was slim.

“That’s not likely,” she said. “At least one of his conditions in the sentence was that he goes through the Knights program which is specifically for people who kill someone under the influence, so he will at least have to go through that program.”


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