Posted: Jan 7, 2013 6:22 PM by Irina Cates - MTN News
MISSOULA - Montana Highway Patrol investigators say a witness reported seeing the 21-year-old Arlee man driving aggressively before the fatal crash on Evaro Hill on Sunday.
"(The person) witnessed the vehicle being driven aggressively by a driver matching the description of the driver at the time of the crash, who was texting," said Montana Highway Patrol Trooper Phil Smart.
MHP investigators say the Tundra driver crossed the center line, sideswiped a second truck, continued going the wrong way, hit a guard rail, and then struck a smaller Ford Ranger pickup truck head-on, killing Joscelyn Lea Cook, who was a passenger in the vehicle.
Trooper say Cook was killed even though she was wearing her seat belt. Three other people were taken to Saint Patrick Hospital in Missoula to be treated for the injuries they suffered in the accident.
MHP wants to hear from anyone else who came across the Toyota Tundra that day.
"If they saw it heading southbound on its way into town, we're happy to know where it was, when it was there, just so we can kind of track its behavior and where it was going," Smart said.
And while they're waiting for witnesses to come forward, troopers are gathering other information.
"Despite having heard that maybe he was texting earlier, we don't know that he was doing that at the time of the crash. So we'll be looking into getting that information and also into getting more statements from people," said Smart.
Investigators also want to get in touch with the person driving behind the Tundra right before the crash.
"We're looking to hopefully get in contact with the person driving that vehicle who witnessed the whole thing happen. Not sure if they may have called 9-1-1 and we just don't have that information," Smart said. "Lots of times we get a lot of callers, people get lost in the flood of that. Also it's on Evaro hill where they may not have had cell phone reception."
The 21-year-old Tundra driver's name is not being released at this time.
If you have any information on the man's driving behavior, you're asked to call the Montana Highway Patrol at 406-329-1500.