Accident victim, 94, a dedicated walker

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At age of 94, Luella B. Scott walked 20 blocks every day.

And every day, Scott would return to her home at Centre Court Manor and walk into the office of Site Manager Leslie Kasberg.

"She would come in my office and tap my desk and say, ‘There, I got my walk done today, but you never know about tomorrow,'" Kasberg said.

That tomorrow came Thursday when Scott was struck by a GMC Suburban while crossing Center Street in front of Kalispell Center Mall. Scott was thrown roughly 50 feet and died.

"It's a somber place here today," Kasberg said Friday. "I'll tell you, it's heart-wrenching."

During the two years she has worked at Centre Court Manor, Kasberg came to know Scott as a special woman, beloved by all who met her.

"She was so sweet," she said. "When she talked she sounded like a dove, and she giggled all the time. There isn't one soul in the 40 people here that didn't love her today. There isn't anyone that goes by my office today and doesn't stop and say it's just a tragedy."

Kasberg said is was inspirational to see this 80-pound woman in her 90s with the kind of attitude and disposition Scott had. Kalberg often told Scott she was put to shame by her walking because she never walked that much.

"She was a character," Kasberg said. "Just a kind, sweet soul."

Scott was born Sept. 5, 1917 in Fielding near Marias Pass. She grew up near Essex and attended school there and in the Flathead Valley.

At 17, she marred Gary Scott in Kalispell. He worked for the Great Northern Railway, and, during World War II, she worked at the Canteen in Whitefish serving lunches to troops who came through on the train.

Her involvement in the community was deep: She served as a den mother for the Cub Scouts, packed cherries in the Kalispell warehouse, worked in Whitefish hospital, was a 50-year member of Eastern Star of Whitefish and was a member of the Episcopalian church in Whitefish.

Along with her husband, she taught square dancing and round dancing for more than 30 years throughout the valley and in Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota and Canada.

Her treasured interests included reading, crocheting, putting together puzzles, fishing, camping and hiking. She also loved bingo and card games. She particularly enjoyed casinos, especially the large floating casinos on the Mississippi River.

Kalispell Police Officer Jason Parce was the first responder on the scene Thursday, urgently calling for help with traffic in the busy intersection where Scott was struck.

He said the accident is still under investigation, but that by all accounts it seemed to be just that - an accident.

"At this point there is no indication the driver was impaired in any way," Parce said. "The driver of the vehicle was very cooperative with us."

Along with consenting to a blood draw to test for alcohol, the driver also gave consent for examination of his cell phone records. Parce said there were no calls in progress, being taken or being made at the time of the accident, nor were any text messages being sent or received.

The blood sample has been sent to the Montana State Crime Lab for analysis.

Neither speed nor road conditions were factors in the crash.

Once Parce completes his report, it will be forwarded to the Flathead County Attorney's Office to determine whether any charges are necessary. Parce said it currently appears to have been a true accident.

He responded to some rumors, stating that there is no indication Scott was dragged under or behind the vehicle.

Parce did offer some words of caution to motorists.

"It's important for people to remain vigilant when they're driving. Pedestrians do have the right of way at intersections and crosswalks," he said, adding "for any of the motoring public, regardless of where you're at, you need to yield the right of way to pedestrians in the roadway. That should be a rule of thumb."

Parce noted that pedestrians also should take care when they are crossing streets, no matter where they are.

He said drivers should obey speed limits and make sure to take into account road conditions.

Reporter Jesse Davis may be reached at 758-4441 or by email at jdavis@dailyinterlake.com.

 

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