Sapphire wants information shared regarding fatal crash

A judge is considering a request by a Helena bar to release information after the family of a woman killed in a 2021 crash claimed they served the driver of the vehicle she was in — who was not of legal age to drink — earlier in the evening.

Attorneys for the owners of the Sapphire Bar, the state and for the family of Bridget Marie Kirby appeared Thursday before Lewis and Clark County District Court Judge Kathy Seeley to debate the sharing of information when no official legal action had yet been filed.

Seeley took the information and said she would review the statute.

Kirby, 20, was killed On Nov. 19, 2021, when fellow Carroll College student Hunter Nicely was driving a vehicle that rolled over and ejected her from the vehicle at Cedar Street and Interstate 15 in Helena. She wasn’t wearing a seatbelt.

Kirby, Nicely and another person who was in the vehicle were all celebrating Nicely’s 20th birthday. Nicely was in possession of a fake ID, authorities said.

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G. Patrick HagEstad, attorney representing the Knights of Pythias Sapphire Lodge, submitted the petition for seeking confidential criminal history record information and confidential criminal justice information, after the Sapphire received a “notice of claim” from the Kirby estate that it intended to pursue civil action against the bar.

“The Estate claims Sapphire served Mr. Nicely with alcohol with knowledge that either he was underage or without making reasonable attempt to determine his age, or that Sapphire served Mr. Nicely while he was visibly intoxicated …” which holds the owners legally responsible, the July 28 petition reads.

HagEstad said the estate has been given access to materials, and there is some indication his client is involved. He said they have not received the information that

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