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College student killed in Evaro wreck

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EVARO — A three-vehicle crash around 3:25 p.m. Sunday on Evaro Hill claimed the life of a 21-year-old Plains woman and injured several others.

According to the Montana Highway Patrol, a Toyota Tundra was traveling north on U.S. Highway 93 when it drifted across the center line and side-swiped a Dodge Ram before careening into the southbound lane’s guardrail. After striking the guardrail, the Tundra spun 180 degrees and hit a third vehicle, a Ford Ranger, on the passenger side.

Montana Highway Patrol Trooper Philip Smart said the Tundra was traveling backward when it hit the Ranger. The Tundra’s bed had been removed and a work truck-like steel flatbed had been welded onto the frame.

The passenger of the Ranger, a 21-year-old college student on her way back to school after winter break, died at the scene. She was wearing a seatbelt.

Smart said he does not believe drugs or alcohol were involved.

The roads were damp but not slippery or icy, so it was not a road conditions crash,” Smart said. “At this point it looks like it was inattentive driving and he just drifted into the oncoming lanes.”

Six people were involved in the three-vehicle accident. The driver of the Toyota Tundra, a 21-year-old male, was transported to St. Patrick’s hospital in Missoula, where he was treated and released.

Three generations of the Snyder family of Ronan were in the Dodge Ram. The eldest was taken to St. Pat’s in Missoula and treated and released, as was the 18-year-old male driver of the Ford Ranger.

Smart said this is an unusual fatal crash because drugs and alcohol were not involved and the deceased was wearing a seatbelt.

The one factor in fatalitites that we see plenty of times is head-on collisions,” Smart said. “When you have vehicles colliding at highway speeds, you have energies that the human body can’t survive. When one person absorbs too much of that energy, which (the deceased woman) did, it’s not a good outcome.”

Authorities will not release the name of the deceased until family members have been notified.

Smart said the crash scene was “awful.”

When you have a 21-year-old (Tundra driver) who’s going to have to live with the fact that (the crash) killed a 21-year-old girl on her way back to college after Christmas break, and an 18-year-old boy who is going to have to live the rest of his life wondering if he could have done something when he couldn’t have .... it’s terrible,” Smart said.


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