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Lodge Grass collision leads to 100th state highway death of 2018

Thursday, August 16, 2018
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The 100th Montana highway death of the year occurred Aug. 7, when a Lodge Grass woman was killed in a vehicular collision. The crash took place at 5:12 a.m. south of Lodge Grass, at the intersection of Montana Highway 451 and Route 463 near Wyola.

A logging 1996 Kenworth semi truck, towing a 1981 trailer was travelling south on the highway when a 2015 F-150 Ford failed to yield at the intersection. The Ford was driven by a 50-yearold Hardin man.

The two trucks collided, causing the Ford to roll onto the driver’s side after spinning 180 degrees. The driver was not wearing a seatbelt, though his passenger was. The driver of the Ford was transported to the Sheridan Memorial Hospital in Wyoming with non-life-threatening injuries.

His passenger, however, a 52-year old Lodge Grass woman, was pronounced dead on the scene. Alcohol is suspected to be a factor in the accident.

The woman was identified as Jacinta L. Walks, a lifelong Montana resident who worked in nursing and public health.

As of Aug. 13, there have been 106 deaths on Montana roads. This is relatively lower than years past, with 125 deaths at this time in 2017 and 123 in 2016.

Out of the 106 deaths, 53 are due to the cause of impaired driving and 53 due to improper restraints. This information is preliminary, taken from Montana Highway Patrol crash data. The data and contributing factors are subject to change.

This year, 10 roadrelated incidents have occurred in Big Horn County. Not all of these incidents have resulted in fatalities.

Montana Highway Patrol Traffic Homicide Investigator Aaron Frievalds believes that many of the fatal crashes that occur in the county, as well as the state, can be preventable.

“If people would drive sober, drive with a seatbelt,” he said, “[most] of the fatal accidents wouldn’t even happen.”

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