BILLINGS — Three crashes over the span of two days claimed the lives of five people in northeastern Montana.
According to the Montana Highway Patrol, the first crash, west of Bainville, happened Friday at around 5 p.m. when an International 4000 Box Truck was traveling south on Road 1013 near US Highway 2 and entered the railroad tracks.
The truck was hit on the passenger side by an eastbound train, which broke apart the vehicle. The bed and box parts broke free and landed in the southside ditch, while the cab and chassis rolled into the northside ditch.
Both occupants, an 18-year-old man and a 21-year-old man, both from Culbertson, were partially ejected. Both had to be extricated from the vehicle and both died at the scene. Both men were wearing seat belts. Alcohol and speed are not suspected as factors. Road conditions were reported as clear and dry. Their names have not yet been released.
The second crash happened west of Culbertson on BIA 1 at mile marker 2.4 at around 2 p.m. on Saturday.
According to MHP, a 2009 Chevy Traverse was traveling east on BIA 1 when the driver tried to pass another vehicle and swerved to the right to avoid an oncoming car.
The vehicle then traveled 50 feet before hitting an approach, rolling twice before coming to rest. All three occupants were thrown from the vehicle.
A 66-year-old man was taken to Roosevelt Memorial Medical Center in Culbertson with injuries. The driver and other passenger, a 41-year-old woman and a 50-year-old woman, died at the scene.
None of the three occupants were wearing seat belts. Alcohol and speed are suspected factors. Roads were reported as clear and dry. Their names have not yet been released.
The third crash occurred west of Poplar on BIA 1 according to MHP. A 22-year-old man was traveling east in a 2013 Chevy Cruze when he veered right and went 400 feet along the ditch before hitting a metal culvert which catapulted the vehicle 187 feet.
It then rolled several times before crashing into a wooden pole and coming to rest on the roof.
The driver was not wearing a seat belt and both alcohol and speed are suspected as factors. Road conditions were reported as wet. The name of the victim has not yet been released.
According to MHP this brings the total number of fatalities on Montana roads this year to 114.