Several accidents mark the beginning of an early winter driving season

Print Article

  • A semi-truck carrying apples flipped onto its side on Saturday evening, Nov. 4, sending the driver to the hospital and closed Interstate 90 when refrigerator fuel leaked onto the road near mile marker 65. (Photo courtesy of Frenchtown Rural Fire Department)

  • 1

    On Thursday, Nov. 2, there was a multi-vehicle accident reported on I-90 near mile marker 80 with no injuries reported. (Photo courtesy of Frenchtown Rural Fire Department)

  • 2

    A vehicle went down a steep embankment up Deep Creek and Southside Road early Sunday morning on Nov. 5. Responders said the road was like a “sheet of ice.” The driver escaped without injury. (Photo courtesy of Frenchtown Rural Fire Department)

  • A semi-truck carrying apples flipped onto its side on Saturday evening, Nov. 4, sending the driver to the hospital and closed Interstate 90 when refrigerator fuel leaked onto the road near mile marker 65. (Photo courtesy of Frenchtown Rural Fire Department)

  • 1

    On Thursday, Nov. 2, there was a multi-vehicle accident reported on I-90 near mile marker 80 with no injuries reported. (Photo courtesy of Frenchtown Rural Fire Department)

  • 2

    A vehicle went down a steep embankment up Deep Creek and Southside Road early Sunday morning on Nov. 5. Responders said the road was like a “sheet of ice.” The driver escaped without injury. (Photo courtesy of Frenchtown Rural Fire Department)

The Montana Department of Transportation incident report page blew up with tiny red markers over the past few days. Each marker indicates an accident and they spread over the page of Montana highways like confetti at a New Year’s Eve party.

On Saturday the Frenchtown Fire Department received 10 calls from 2 a.m. until 11:45 p.m. Spokesperson, Mel Holtz said the roads appeared dry but the bridge decks had moisture build up and freeze, causing patches of black ice.

Volunteer firefighters and other personnel were scrambling up and down the corridor attending to accidents, but with only one injury that sent a man to the Missoula hospital. It was the driver of a semi-truck which flipped onto its side. The truck was carrying apples and the refrigeration coolant leaked onto the highway, causing Interstate 90 near mile marker 65 to have a lane closed for nearly an hour and a half.

Six accidents occurred in that stretch on Saturday evening, which also included an SUV hauling a trailer that flipped on its side. Most incidents occurred between mile markers 65 and 78.

A vehicle also went off the road up Deep Creek and Southside Road early Sunday morning. The Frenchtown Rural Fire Department received a call about an illegal bonfire and personnel were responding when they came upon a group of people on the road, which responders said “was a sheet of ice.”

They told the firefighters that a vehicle had gone down the embankment, which Holtz said was at about an 80 degree slope. They set up a rope rescue system and descended over 200 feet to reach the vehicle; however the driver was not at the scene. He was later located by law enforcement and was found safe.

There was also a multi-vehicle accident near mile marker 80 on Interstate 90 on Thursday evening, Nov. 2, blocking eastbound lanes. No injuries were reported and one lane of traffic was opened as wreckers arrived on the scene to remove the vehicles.

Holtz said one of the biggest fears is dealing with traffic as emergency crews respond on the scene of an accident. Montana has a law that requires oncoming traffic to move to the side when there are emergency vehicles on the road, but “it gets pretty scary when they are attending to injured people and there have been several near misses in the past between responders and oncoming traffic.” Holtz reminds the public to slow down and give responders plenty of room to work.

“There’s always a lot of accidents early in the winter season,” said Holtz. “This year it seems earlier than usual and it just takes time for people to get into a winter mind-set. Just remember to allow yourself extra travel time and use caution.”

He also reminds the public to travel with survival equipment in case of an emergency, which includes warm blankets and clothing, matches, food, flashlights and cat litter in case the vehicle becomes stuck.

Print Article

Read More Local News

Spiekermeier on his way to D.C. with Capitol Christmas Tree

November 22, 2017 at 11:04 am | Clark Fork Valley Press Larry “Hollywood” Spiekermeier, as he has been affectionately named by his pilot crew, is well on his way to Washington, D.C. with a special Christmas tree in tow. The 70-year-old Plains resident an...

Comments

Read More

High Country Cowboys swing back into Sanders County

November 22, 2017 at 11:05 am | Clark Fork Valley Press The High Country Cowboys trio were at Quinn’s Hot Springs last week for a two-night performance. The brothers; Marty, John and Joe Kosel are firmly becoming staples in the entertainment at the loca...

Comments

Read More

Cancer Network hosts lantern lighting

November 22, 2017 at 11:04 am | Clark Fork Valley Press The lighting and releasing of lanterns for cancer has become a worldwide tradition to not only remember those that are lost but those that have survived. Originally starting in Thailand, the lighti...

Comments

Read More

Turkey B-I-N-G-O fun at Hot Springs

November 22, 2017 at 11:04 am | Clark Fork Valley Press Sanders County locals turned out to Hot Springs for Turkey Bingo. The Hot Springs Lions Club once again had their annual fundraiser which saw around 100 people attend for the event at the Hot Spring...

Comments

Read More

Contact Us

(406) 826-3402
105 W. Lynch
P.O. Box 667
Plains, MT 59859

©2017 Clark Fork Valley Press | Mineral Independent Terms of Use Privacy Policy
X
X