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Billings woman dies in roundabout crash

A 69-year-old Billings man drove the wrong way through a West End roundabout, killing one woman and injuring a man in a late-morning car accident recently. Police officers reported that the driver, who was operating a Lexus SUV, was driving south on Shiloh Road when he veered into oncoming traffic. The man continued to drive on the wrong side of the road as he entered the roundabout, located at Grand Avenue.

The sport utility vehicle plowed into a 53-year-old woman's Honda Civic as she was turning east onto Grand, according to witness reports. The crash spun the Honda around, causing it to roll over. The Lexus also rolled onto its roof, said authorities. Both of the cars came to rest in a grassy area near the southeast corner of the intersection.

The driver of the Honda Civic was declared dead at the scene, according to emergency responders. The older man was transported to a Billings hospital after the accident, though it is not clear the extent of his injuries.

Authorities report that the man may have suffered a medical emergency that caused him to lose control of the vehicle before entering the roundabout intersection. The bizarre nature of the accident leads officers to assume that the man experienced some kind of pre-existing problem during the crash. Further investigation is pending in the case, which is being handled by Billings police officers. No mention has yet been made of drugs or alcohol in connection with the accident.

Pre-existing medical conditions such as diabetes, epilepsy and heart problems can cause drivers to lose control of their vehicles, posing a serious threat to those operating cars in their vicinity. Drivers who know they may experience adverse effects because of such conditions are urged to seriously evaluate the necessity of driving and authorities need to remain vigilant to ensure that such drivers are closely monitored.

Source: The Billings Gazette, "Wrong-way crash kills woman in Shiloh-Grand roundabout," Zach Benoit, June 4, 2012

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