Alleged drunk driver crashes into playground, then keeps going

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Debbie Rae Paszek

A woman who has a history of drunk driving convictions faces a host of charges after she allegedly rammed into a fence at Horine Park in Columbia Falls, backed up and then later crashed on South Hilltop Road on June 11 in Columbia Falls.

Debbie Rae Paszek, 55, of Columbia Falls and Kila, allegedly drove her Ford Escape at a high rate of speed down Diane Road shortly after 6 p.m. and crashed through the fence at Horine Park. One neighbor said that kids were playing on the playground at the time of the incident and she narrowly missed hitting them.

She then backed up, drove through the west end neighborhood and went down South Hilltop Road where she crashed her car at the Sapa corner where she was apprehended.

Paszek’s tear through town started on Highway 2 and then wound through west side neighborhoods.

Paszek was charged with criminal endangerment, felony criminal mischief, parole violation, DUI, reckless driving, and failure to give notice of accident by quickest means. Other charges are pending.

Paszek has a history of bad driving, according to Department of Corrections records. In 2006 she received a 60-month suspended sentence for negligent vehicular assault in Flathead County. In 2015, she received a partially suspended sentence of 49 months for having four or more DUIs.

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