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Montana Highway Patrol officials are investigating a hit-and-run crash that killed a 54-year-old Missoula man Monday night on Highway 10 West.

Fred Andrew Emery was driving his Honda scooter home from work at DirectTV when he was struck from behind by an SUV, officials said. The crash happened at 11:08 p.m., and Emery was pronounced dead several hours later at St. Patrick Hospital, according to Capt. Greg Hintz of the Missoula County Sheriff's Department.

A Missoula rural firefighter who responded to the crash on Monday night happened upon the suspected run vehicle in the Frenchtown area Tuesday morning, and investigators were trying to locate the SUV's registered owner throughout the day.

"Right now we do have the vehicle that hit him and we're in the process of getting search warrants and arrest warrants," said Montana Highway Patrol Capt. Tom Hamilton.

As of Tuesday evening, however, a 30-year-old woman suspected of causing the crash still had not been located.

Trooper Scott Hoffman said investigators are looking for Traci Marie Williams, aka Traci Marie Lajoie, who is the registered owner of a green Dodge Durango SUV that officials believe was involved in the hit-and-run crash.

Debris at the scene of the crash suggests that a green SUV was involved, Hamilton said, and a firefighter who helped investigate the crash spotted an abandoned Dodge with front-end damage on the Frenchtown Frontage Road Tuesday morning. The damage to the SUV matched the damage to the scooter, Hamilton said.

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Missoula Rural firefighter Michael Bowman said he responded briefly to the incident late Monday night, and was driving home the next morning at the end of his shift when he came upon the green SUV parked hazardously along the side of the road.

"I was thinking it was way too coincidental, so I called 9-1-1 because it was a hazardous vehicle, but I also mentioned that it could be the run vehicle," Bowman said.

Emery was driving eastbound on Highway 10 when the crash occurred. Another motorist up ahead watched the scooter go down in the rearview mirror, but reported that no other vehicles were involved, contrary to what evidence at the scene of the crash indicates. The crash happened at mile post 4.7.

Monday night's death brings the number of fatal motorcycle crashes in Montana to six this year, and the total number of road and highway fatalities to 56.

Anyone with information related to the suspect or the crash should contact the Montana Highway Patrol at (406) 329-1500.

Reporter Tristan Scott can be reached at 523-5264 or at tscott@missoulian.com.

 

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