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An 82-year-old woman from Whitefish whose Toyota crossed over the center line and collided with a dump truck Thursday afternoon in the Flathead Valley became Montana’s second highway fatality of 2018.

According to the Montana Highway Patrol, the victim was alone and eastbound on snow-covered and icy Montana Highway 40 between Whitefish and Columbia Falls when she crossed into the westbound lane for unknown reasons. The collision occurred at 4 p.m. near the intersection of Dillon Road and 2 1/2 miles east of U.S. 93. 

The unidentified woman was pronounced dead on the scene. She was wearing a seat belt. The driver of the dump truck, who was uninjured, was unable to avoid the oncoming Toyota. Both vehicles went off the road on the westbound shoulder, according to MHP.

Two other vehicles crashed while trying to avoid the wreckage. Some occupants were reportedly hospitalized with unknown injuries.

The state’s first highway death was the result of a single-car crash in Helena on Saturday. Lewis and Clark County officials said Ashley Binion, 32, of Helena may have suffered a seizure while driving eastbound on Helena Avenue. Her vehicle went off the roadway and hit a tree near the Hustad Center.

Emergency responders had to extricate Binion from her vehicle. She was transported to St. Peter’s Health where she died early Sunday of blunt force trauma.

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