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Women survive two separate rollover wrecks

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LAKE COUNTY — Authorities say seatbelts likely saved the lives of four women involved in two separate rollover accidents that occurred Aug. 19 on Lake County Highways. 

Montana Highway Patrol Trooper Brian Casey said two local underage females were traveling west on Round Butte Road outside of Ronan at approximately 11 a.m. when the driver attempted to turn their car onto Hughes Road. 

The driver noticed a semi-truck traveling at a high rate of speed behind her and worried about having enough time to slow down, Casey said. 

“She made the turn when she was going a little too fast,” Casey said. 

The car rolled down an embankment. Both occupants were transported to St. Luke Community Hospital in Ronan, but did not sustain life-threatening injuries. 

A witness verified the driver’s account of a fast-traveling semi-truck being behind the vehicle before the accident, Casey said, although he was unable  to locate the semi-truck. 

At 2:25 p.m. that afternoon, Casey responded to another rollover near Rollins at mile marker 85 on Highway 93. 

Casey said in that crash a driver was being inattentive and did not notice a vehicle making a turn on the highway until the passenger brought it to the driver’s attention. The driver estimated she was going 70 mph when she swerved onto the shoulder to avoid rear-ending the other vehicle and attempted to veer back onto the highway, but overcorrected and crossed both lanes of the roadway, Casey said. 

The vehicle rolled down a 30-foot embankment and came to rest against a tree. 

“The driver walked away almost unscathed,” Casey said. 

The 20-year-old female driver was from Kalispell and was a sister to the 17-year-old female passenger from Hot Springs. 

The passenger was helped from the vehicle by the driver and passersby and transported to a Kalispell hospital where she was examined for suspected broken bones, Casey said. 

“Seat belts paid off in both cases,” Casey said. 

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