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Three dead after crash on Highway 87

Montana roads are still plagued with car accidents this year, even as the winter weather begins to wane. Yet another collision has left three young victims dead on Highway 87 after a vehicle crossed the road's center line. Two people were ejected from the apparently head-on accident.

Authorities report that a pick-up truck traveling westbound struck an eastbound sedan during the early morning hours on Feb. 25. The pick-up truck hit a guard rail before plowing into the other car. Officers said the accident happened sometime before 3 a.m., but they did not receive reports about the collision until at least 46 minutes had elapsed. The delayed response may be attributable to low traffic on this stretch of unlit country road. Fewer passersby would have had the opportunity to report the accident.

It appears as though no one in the vehicles was wearing a seatbelt. As a result, two people were sent flying from the pick-up truck when the collision occurred. Those two 25-year-old men died. The driver of the sedan, age 27, also perished in the accident. Media reports do not reveal whether the men ever made it to medical facilities before they were pronounced dead.

Troopers said the crash investigation is continuing. It remains unclear whether speed or alcohol contributed to the accident. Mechanical failure could have been to blame, as could inclement weather along this stretch of rural two-lane highway.

After the investigation is complete, troopers will be able to determine which driver is at fault for the accident. The estate of the at-fault driver may be sued by the victims' relatives. Initial reports seem to suggest that the truck driver was at fault. First, the family members of the pick-up truck passenger could seek financial relief for negligent driving and wrongful death. Similarly, relatives of the sedan driver could file a wrongful death claim. Both of these groups could also seek financial compensation from the driver's estate for pain and suffering, emotional distress and loss of consort, among other options.

Source: Great Falls Tribune, "Crash kills three on Highway 87 near Armington Junction," Feb. 25, 2013

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