An 83-year-old Bigfork man is dead after a head-on crash Monday afternoon on Montana Highway 35 east of Evergreen.
The Flathead County Sheriff's Department on Tuesday identified the victim as Thomas Arnett.
According to Montana Highway Patrol, Arnett was driving east at 4:20 p.m. when his red Jeep Wrangler crossed the fog line on the right side of the road, then veered left into oncoming traffic, striking a Dodge Ram 3500 head-on.
According to MHP, the Jeep came to rest in the westbound lane facing east, and the Dodge truck stopped in the same lane facing west. Arnett was pronounced dead at the scene. The driver of the Dodge, a 26-year-old man, sustained minor injuries but refused hospital treatment.
Traffic was initially detoured around the accident scene, and a couple of non-injury crashes were recorded in the area. The detour was rescinded about an hour after the crash, and flaggers directed traffic through the scene in the eastbound lane until shortly before 7 p.m., when both lanes were cleared.
Alcohol, drugs and speed aren’t suspected in the crash, and Arnett was wearing his seat belt. The other driver was not.
The fatality was the 99th on state roads and highways this year, compared to 106 at the same time last year. It also was the third in four days on western Montana roads.
The Mineral County coroner has yet to release the name and hometown of a 54-year-old female killed Friday in a one-car rollover west of Superior.
The crash occurred around 2 p.m. when a Nissan passenger car traveling eastbound on Interstate 90 left the roadway on the median side at mile marker 41.6 between St. Regis and Superior. The driver overcorrected to the right and rolled, according to MHP.
The woman was pronounced dead on the scene. Three children ages 2, 6 and 8 were taken to St. Patrick Hospital in Missoula. All occupants were wearing seat belts and there was no air bag deployment.
On Thursday night, a rollover crash on a mountain road off U.S. Highway 12 east of Garrison claimed the life of 63-year-old Stevie Jon Nelson, whose last address was listed as Anaconda. The Montana Standard reported Nelson was alone driving an older model Ford F-250 at around 6 p.m. when he took a right turn too sharply and left the road, rolling the truck down an embankment.
Nelson, who was not wearing a seat belt, died at the scene. The crash wasn’t discovered until Friday morning, after an area resident reported a limping dog in the road.