Highway patrol trooper involved in head-on crash near Hamilton


MISSOULA, Mont. - A Montana Highway Patrol sergeant and another driver were injured in a head-on-collision on Highway 93 south of Hamilton.

It happened just before 6 a.m. near mile marker 43 between Angler's Roost and Roaring Lion Road.

Trooper Drew Novak says the driver of a car with worn tires lost control on a curve in the snowy road and slid across the center line into the path of MHP Sergeant Scott Bennett's car. Novak says Bennett was able to slow down some and had steered his car onto the shoulder but was unable to avoid the collision.

According to Montana Highway Patrol's Twitter page, Bennett and the other driver were taken to the hospital by ambulance.

Bennett had a shattered ankle and was going into surgery Thursday afternoon. The other driver was alert and conscious with non-life-threatening injuries.

Sheriff's deputies cordoned off the site of the accident and diverted early morning traffic from that stretch of Highway 93 onto Hub Lane.

Bennett is a familiar face on Bitterroot roads. NBC Montana met him earlier this winter as he investigated a weather related accident. It was a snowy, wet day then.

That day he told us, "Between that deep snow and exceptionally slippery conditions it's pretty hazardous."

The weather was similar this Thursday morning, wet, sloppy and -- as a sheriff's deputy told us -- "treacherous."

Many drivers who drive the stretch between Angler's Roost just after the bridge over the Bitterroot River to Roaring Lion Road say it can be dangerous in any weather.

It is a long, curvy stretch that Stevensville resident Shayne Moss is very familiar with.

"You'll be going down the highway and somebody will be coming at you in your own lane," said Moss. "I got ran off the road twice in one month."

We met Pete Cade on Roaring Lion Road. Cade heard the accident on his scanner. He wasn't surprised.

No matter what the cause of this accident he said everybody needs to take their time on Highway 93 south.

"They all drive too fast," he said. "Somebody needs to slow down."

Thursday morning's thick snowfall meant dangerous conditions for everybody, including the troopers who patrol our roads to keep people safe.

close video ad
Unmutetoggle ad audio on off