Secondhand swindle, Pestle escapes unscathed

Hana Pestle at the keyboard smiles as audiences react to her performance of "Need" from her debut album, "This Way."
Hana Pestle at the keyboard smiles as audiences react to her performance of “Need” from her debut album, “This Way.”

Friday was a difficult night for Hana Pestle, who was in a car wreck that nearly took her life hours before her performance at the Babcock Theater. Pestle was visibly distracted onstage, and told her audience, “We’re lucky to be alive.”

Pestle’s car, driven by her record producer and boyfriend Ben Moody, hit ice on the highway between Butte and Billings as the couple returned from a performance in Missoula the previous night. Moody lost control of the car, which slid into a semitrailer, bounced back into their lane and spun into a roadside ditch. The vehicle was totaled, but Moody and Pestle were remarkably unhurt.

Pestle, who was unable to rent a car because of her age, and Moody, who forgot his wallet and therefore was also unable to rent a car, were able to get a 26-foot Uhaul to drive the remaining two hours to Billings for the concert.

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