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Two Columbia Falls women die in crash on I-15

by Daily Inter Lake
| May 4, 2021 7:15 AM

Two young women from Columbia Falls died Monday afternoon in a four-vehicle, chain-reaction traffic crash on Interstate 15 in Pondera County after smoke from a controlled burn obscured the vision of drivers ahead of them.

According to Montana Highway Patrol, a 57-year-old man from Calgary, Alberta, was driving a Peterbilt tractor trailer with a Lode King trailer south on Interstate 15 near Conrad at 1:15 p.m. when smoke from the burn obstructed his vision.

The driver slowed to 25 miles per hour and his truck was rear-ended by a Freightliner truck and utility trailer driven by a 51-year-old man from Calgary, Alberta. Then a Pontiac Grand Prix with the women from Columbia Falls, one age 20 and the other 17, hit the rear of the Freightliner truck.

A fourth vehicle, a Mazda CX-5, driven by a 30-year-old woman from Colorado Springs, Colorado, hit the rear of the Pontiac.

Both Columbia Falls women died at the scene. According to the investigating officer, it was not known which person was driving or if they were wearing seat belts.

The 51-year-old man from Calgary, who was wearing a seat belt, was injured.

The 30-year-old woman from Colorado Springs driving the Mazda was injured and taken to a local hospital. Two female passengers in the Mazda, a 30-year and a 60-year-old, both from Colorado Springs were also injured. All three were wearing seat belts.