A 22-year old Montana State University student died, and four other people suffered serious injuries after two vehicles collided Sunday on Highway 12 a few miles east of East Helena.
The head-on crash occurred around 2 p.m. when a black sport utility vehicle traveling eastbound attempted to pass multiple cars.
The driver of a blue two-door car was traveling westbound and swerved onto the shoulder to avoid the oncoming SUV, but the driver of the SUV also swerved and the two vehicles collided, according to Montana Highway Patrol.
“They hit head on in the ditch,” trooper David Gleich said.
A passenger in the SUV, identified as Carolyn Thompson of Eugene, Ore., died on the scene of massive internal injuries, according to Lewis and Clark County Coroner Mickey Nelson.
Both drivers and the other two passengers in the SUV were transported to St. Peter’s Hospital with serious but non-life-threatening injuries, according to MHP Sgt. Jay Nelson. All were extricated from the vehicles.
Sgt. Nelson said authorities believe all four individuals traveling in the SUV were students at Montana State University but added that the investigation into the crash is ongoing.
Gleich said all passengers except the driver of the SUV were wearing seat belts.
The crash was caused by the unsafe passing maneuver during inclement weather, MHP officials said.
Traffic in both directions was stopped, then slowed, for several hours after the crash.