KALISPELL - A man and a woman from Columbia Falls died Friday after a near head-on collision in Kalispell on U.S. Highway 2, according to the Flathead County Coroner’s Office.

Mercy Peterson, 18, drove the car in the two-vehicle crash just south of Glacier International Airport. He was pronounced dead at the scene, the coroner said.

Kayli Mercedes Wagoner, 17, was a passenger in the car, and she died Friday afternoon after being transported to Kalispell Regional Medical Center with critical injuries.

The driver and passenger of a minivan struck in the collision also went to the hospital, but their injuries did not appear to be life-threatening, according to the Montana Highway Patrol.

The crash was called in at 10:19 a.m. after a gray passenger car traveling south on Highway 2 crossed the center line, came into oncoming traffic, and smashed into the white minivan near mile marker 129, said Trooper Patrick Herman.

“We don’t have any skid marks or anything, so we really can’t get a speed estimate out of this at this point,” Herman said.

He said he believed the van driver, a 72-year-old man from Kalispell, had broken bones and underwent surgery Friday afternoon, although he could not confirm the procedure or medical condition. The 17-year-old passenger in the minivan had minor injuries, he said.

The reason the car veered into oncoming traffic was unclear, and the case remained under investigation, Herman said.

The occupants of the van said they were wearing their seatbelts, according to the Highway Patrol; the occupants of the car did not appear to be wearing seatbelts.

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(2) comments


I don't understand why people don't use seatbelts.

Clark Kent
Clark Kent

A sad tragedy, and my prayers go out for everyone involved.

Now, is it just me who dislikes referring to 17 year olds as "men" and "women"? Are there 16-year-old men and women as well? Or 12-year-old men and women? I thought the cut-off was at the age of 18, and younger than that they were referred to as "teenagers".

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