Helena mayor: Senate candidate details fender bender resulting in citations

Helena Interim Police Chief Steve Hagen says Mayor Wilmot Collins has been cited following a minor traffic crash that occurred last Monday.

Collins was served with two misdemeanor citations on Thursday and was ordered to appear in Lewis and Clark County Justice Court on May 28th.

Collins added detail to the incident via Twitter on Saturday.

“On the afternoon of the 23rd, I was presented with two citations that arose from this incident,” Collins said. “The first one was careless driving and the other was for leaving the scene of the accident.”

Collins said he planned to plead guilty to careless driving but not the misdemeanor charge of leaving the scene.

“The driver said she recognized me and knew who I was,” Collins tweeted. “I gave her my card and told her I would pay for any damage to the vehicle at any repair shop of her choice. I we shook hands and she seemed satisfied with my offer.”

According to Hagen, a 35-year-old woman from Butte reported that she was headed south on Last Chance Gulch when she stopped before turning on to Lyndale Avenue. Police say when she stopped, she was struck from behind by a Mazda CX-5. According to the report, the Mazda continued west on Lyndale.

Police say the driver who was hit was able to catch up to the driver of the Mazda in a parking lot on the 300 block of Euclid. The driver reportedly provided a business card identifying him as Wilmot Collins and then left the scene.

Collins, a Democrat, announced this month he is running for Republican U.S. Sen. Steve Daines’ seat. He was elected mayor in 2017.

Police say they met with Collins and the woman on the night of the crash, that both cars suffered minor damage and no one was injured.

The case was then forwarded to the Lewis and Clark County Attorney’s Office due to a conflict of interest with the Helena City Attorney’s Office.

The news release from Helena police said the county attorney determined Collins should be cited for careless driving and failure to remain at the scene of an accident.