Two Polson residents are dead after a crash Wednesday afternoon.
In a press release, Lake County Sheriff Don Bell wrote that shortly after 1 p.m., a vehicle crashed into the back of the Murdoch’s store in Polson. First responders pronounced the driver, 76-year-old Mervin Payne, dead at the scene. His one passenger, 57-year-old Crystal Anderson, died soon afterwards at a local hospital.
Murdoch’s is located on the east side of U.S. 93. Investigators determined that, while driving, Payne “suffered a cardiac event, which likely caused him to drive from the southbound lanes of Hwy 93, across the northbound lanes, through a field, over an embankment, and then ultimately into the back of the Murdoch’s store causing damage to the building,” Bell wrote in a press release.
Lake County Sheriff’s Office coroners, working with the Montana Highway Patrol and the State Medical Examiner, concluded that “neither Payne, nor Anderson suffered injuries from the crash that would have caused their death.” The press release said that Payne died of natural causes, and Anderson from a cardiac event after the accident.
A dog in the car was cared for by Murdoch’s staff and Life Savers Animal Rescue, which will transport it to the owner’s next of kin in another state.