Top 5 Accidents in Montana History
Despite having a statewide population of just over a million, Montana sure has seen its fair share of dramatic crashes. Indeed, did you know that the highway death rate in Montana currently ranks as the third highest in the entire United States? Montana, also, has the unfortunate distinction of being the deadliest state for teenage drivers involved in car accidents. In fact, Montana’s teen driver crash rate surpasses the national average by over 200 percent.
Montana has a long history of crashes, however. From planes to trucks to buses and even trains, here are the top 5 most dramatic accidents in the history of Montana.
The Great Custer Creek Train Wreck of 1938
Known unanimously as the worst train disaster in all of Montana railway history, this horrendous accident killed 47 train passengers and caused nearly twice as many injuries. The train accident occurred when the bridge supporting
the Milwaukee Road train company’s Olympian collapsed about Custer Creek just outside of Saugus, Montana. The bridge collapsed after a flood had washed away many of its foundations.
The train accident took place shortly after midnight as the Olympian was carrying over 150 passengers from Chicago to Tacoma at around 50 miles per hour. The train accident happened so quickly and with so little warning that when emergency personnel retrieved the body of the train’s engineer, he was still in his seat with his hands still on the controls of the train.
The 1957 Great Falls Truck Crash
Easily one of the saddest accidents in Montana took place in 1957 when five local high school students and a music teacher were killed in a tragic collision with a truck. The students and the teacher were from Ford Benton high school and were traveling to a music festival to perform when their vehicle collided with a freighter semi-truck. The driver was survived the semi truck accident the only person to survive the crash, suffering a minor injury to his knee. To this day, the residents of Fort Benton still talk about the tragic loss of life that terrible day in March.
The Wrestling Team Bus Crash of 1984
Ask anyone in Whitefish about the worst crash in the town’s history and they’ll likely point to the 1984 bus crash involving the local wrestling team. The infamous bus crash claimed the lives of 9 people and injured nearly two dozen more. In a town of less than 5,000, the 1984 bus accident was a shock to nearly everyone in Whitefish.
The bus accident, itself, took place in the middle of a snowstorm in the dead of winter when the bus carrying the local wrestling team collided with a fuel tanker. The bus, carrying wrestlers, cheerleaders, and several other Whitefish High School students, was returning from a match when it hit the fuel tanker head on. The bus driver was killed instantly, as were several of the wrestlers sitting near the front of the bus. At the time it was considered one of the worst accidents ever in Montana, one people from Whitefish still remember to this day.
2009 Cemetery Plane Crash
Without a doubt the most tragic plane crash happened in 2009 when a single-engine plane carrying 14 people crashed in a nearby cemetery. What’s so tragic about this plane crash accident is that half of the victims were children.
A witness to the plane crash said the plane looked like it was doing stunts as it jerked wildly from side to side before coming down in the cemetery. Investigators later said the plane was likely exceeded it’s weight limit due to overcrowding. Typically, this model of plane can carry no more than 10 people at a time. The purpose of the plane trip was to take the children on a ski trip to Bozeman. No one in the cemetery at the time of the crash was injured.
Christmas Eve Crash of 2016
One of the worst crashes anyone on the Montana Highway Patrol ever witnessed happened on Christmas Eve in 2016. During the middle of the afternoon on Highway 93, a pickup truck attempted to pass the cars in front of him by crossing the center line and collided with a massive semi-truck. The collision was so violent and was with so much force that it ejected the driver of the pickup, killing him instantly.
Indeed, the pickup truck hit the semi truck so fast that investigators found debris from the truck accident over 500 feet from the crash site. Even the local sheriff admitted that he hadn’t seen a truck accident so violent in all of his 25 years working for the police force.
Call the Attorneys With the Advocates Today
There you have it. The top 5 accidents in the history of Montana. Crashes and accidents on the road are an unfortunate reality for far too many people. If you’ve ever wondered what it looks like to be involved in a real life accident, the Montana Highway Patrol put together this instructional video.
If you’re ever the victim of an accident through no fault of your own, you will need an Advocate to help you during the aftermath. The car accident attorneys with the Advocates have decades of experience helping accident victims just like you. You can either call our office at 406-629-1194 or chat online right this minute with a live attorney from our homepage. Don’t wait to get back on the road to recovery. Contact us today for a free evaluation of your case. You deserve an Advocate!