One man died and two others were hospitalized after a collision on Interstate 90 near the Missoula-Granite County line Wednesday afternoon.
Traffic in the eastbound lane east of Beavertail Hill was slowed into the evening as investigators converged on the scene.
The crash occurred at mile marker 132.7 shortly before 2:45 p.m.
Sgt. Paul Pfau of the Montana Highway Patrol said a westbound pickup truck crossed the median into the path of an eastbound semi-truck with a loaded trailer.
The driver of the full-sized GMC Sierra, whom Pfau estimated to be “probably in his 20s,” did not survive the crash.
A passenger in the pickup and the driver of the semi were transported to Providence St. Patrick Hospital. Pfau said the extent of their injuries was unknown. Both were able to provide information to responders at the scene.
“There was plenty of median. It’s unknown at this point why the pickup crossed the median,” Pfau said about an hour after the crash. “The roads might be a little bit wet but they’re not packed ice or snow.”
The wreck occurred in Granite County, and a sheriff's deputy and coroner from that county responded, as well as a Missoula County deputy and three Montana Highway patrolmen. Pfau said state Motor Carrier Services was also on the scene to do an inspection of the semi, which tipped over and came to rest on the right side of the highway.
The death raised the unofficial highway fatality toll for 2018 to eight, one more than on the same date a year ago.