Fatal crashes claim 4 in Northwest Montana

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A Montana Highway Patrol vehicle with its lights on in this file photo. (Brenda Ahearn/Daily Inter Lake file)

It was a deadly weekend on Northwest Montana highways, with four people killed in three separate vehicle crashes.

A Kalispell woman and an Idaho man were killed in two motorcycle crashes in Lincoln County over the weekend, The Western News reported Monday.

Shortly before noon Friday, Jennifer Lynn Campbell, 53, of Kalispell was riding a 2004 Harley-Davidson motorcycle south on Highway 37 when she crashed near milemarker 26.

Campbell “was not wearing a helmet and received fatal injuries when she entered the wooded area at the edge of the highway” while riding in a leftward corner, according to the Montana Highway Patrol.

CPR was in progress when the crash was reported to Lincoln County Sheriff’s dispatch.

Campbell was riding with a group of friends who were following her, but had no passenger and was the only motorcycle involved in the crash, the Highway Patrol reported.

Authorities suspect driver error caused the crash. The road was described as bare and dry and the weather sunny.

At about 2:52 a.m. Sunday, Andrew Small, 40, of Moyie Springs, Idaho, died after the Yamaha sportbike he was riding west on U.S. 2 in Montana near the Idaho border “was laid down in the eastbound lane” after taking a right corner “at a high rate of speed,” according to the Highway Patrol.

The bike slid for about 254 feet while rotating and came to a rest while straddling the border.

Small was wearing a helmet.

Speed is a suspected factor in the crash, which was reported by a passing motorist. No other vehicles or people were involved.

“(It is) unknown if alcohol is a factor at this point in the investigation,” Trooper Katherine Trewick said by email. “Blood tests have been gathered to make that conclusion.”

The road conditions were reported as clear and dry.

Early Saturday morning in Sanders County, a female driver and her passenger were killed when the Jeep they were traveling in collided with a rock wall on Montana 28 between Plains and Hot Springs.

According to a report from the Clark Fork Valley Press, the accident happened at about 12:45 a.m. at milemarker 9 near the Rainbow Lake Campground. Neither occupant was wearing a seatbelt. Both were pronounced dead on the scene.

Investigating troopers suspect the driver lost control of the vehicle due to speed. It was undetermined whether drugs and/or alcohol were contributing factors as the coroner had not released any findings as of Monday.

The driver and the passenger were both from the Flathead Valley, MTN News reported. Both were 35 years old.

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