Multitude of crashes, one fatality in county

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The Montana Highway Patrol’s Crash Unit was on scene for a fatality the night of Wednesday, Sept. 5. (Erin Jusseaume/Clark Fork Valley Press)

Last week saw emergency responders extremely busy with a number of call-outs, including multiple vehicle wrecks with one fatality.

Sunday evening on Montana 28, responders were called to a single-vehicle crash where a female motorcycle rider in her 50s came off her bike at milepost marker 3.

The single-vehicle single-occupant crash did require medical attention to which was given on scene, and the driver was later transported to Clark Fork Valley Hospital with leg and facial injuries, according to reports.

Montana Highway Patrol Trooper Trevor Karsh said that speed was not a likely a factor in the wreck nor where any drugs and/or alcohol involved.

The rider was wearing a helmet and citied for careless driving.

LABOR DAY saw the intersection of Montana 135 and 200 once again fall victim to a to vehicle crash.

Emergency responders attended the scene with the road having to had been shut down for approximately an hour.

Witnesses told Karsh, who responded to the scene, that a Ford Taurus had pulled out of MT 135 onto MT 200 headed westbound toward Paradise when the driver collided with a black GMC Yukon traveling eastbound toward Missoula.

The Yukon was said to have four adult occupants, while the Ford Taurus had only an adult driver. Only one passenger was said to not have been wearing a seatbelt in the Yukon, while everyone else involved was wearing a safety belt.

Occupants of the Yukon where said to have had two Sanders County residences with out-of-state friends with them; all are said to have been transported to Clark Fork Valley Hospital for medical attention.

The driver of the Ford was reported to be from Cutbank, and was citied for failure to yield at the intersection. It is believed that there were no drugs and/or alcohol involved.

Trooper Karsh was backed up by local emergency responders from Plains as well as two other MHP troopers on scene.

KARSH ISSUED a reminder to drivers to ensure they stop at the Highway 135/200 intersection and look vigilantly both ways before turning onto the highway.

“Double check, double check before you pull out — be attentive,” said Karsh.

“When we respond to accidents, drivers on the road should be aware that they are required to pull over toward the right-hand side to allow emergency responders using lights and sirens to pass by safely and get to the emergency as quickly as possible. This is for vehicles traveling in both directions,” explained Karsh.

Having been slightly delayed en route to the crash, he reiterated,” The longer we’re behind you and cannot pass safely, the longer someone has to wait that needs help,” Karsh said.

WEDNESDAY, SEPT. 5, saw two separate wrecks, one in Thompson Falls that required some persons involved to be transported to Clark Fork Valley Hospital.

The second crash was within an hour of the first and occurred along Highway 200 at milepost marker 79.6, where a motorcycle drove off the road in a single-vehicle wreck.

The male rider, who was a resident of Plains, did not survive the accident and was pronounced deceased on scene by emergency responders.

Witnesses who spoke with MHP Trooper Terry Rosenbaum, who oversaw the scene, said it had appeared that the driver had slumped over the handlebars before exiting the roadway into some brush where he was found.

It was said that the motorcycle had a side car attached as he was traveling with his pet dog. The dog was tethered and was found to be relatively unharmed.

Family and friends rushed to the scene when word was made to those who were notified by emergency responders. Those close to the man gathered what they could and helped remove the motorcycle from the scene.

A MHP crash unit also attended the scene to assist with forensic findings that are required to be taken of the wreck.

Rosenbaum said speed was not a factor, but could not confirm a definitive cause of the accident until an autopsy was conducted by the coroner.

“We believe what caused the accident was a medical condition the rider was said to have been suffering from,” Rosenbaum said.

He said that once the investigation was completed they will know more details of what happened, and will be able to fully determine the cause and after affects of the crash.

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