Posted: Jan 3, 2013 9:16 AM by Melissa Anderson - MTN News
HELENA - Helena police are still investigating the crash that killed Darwin Lee Simac of East Helena on New Year's Eve.
Investigators are trying to determine what caused him to drive head-on into a steel traffic pole on Prospect Avenue near the I-15 off ramp at around 8 p.m. Monday.
At the scene of the crash, Detective Brett Petty said, "You can see over here where the tire tracks are. It doesn't look like there was any movements to where where he moved left or right or anything like that. It seemed like it just continued straight on. We didn't see any skid marks to where the driver attempted to stop or anything like that."
According to reports from the family, Simac was headed into Helena to spend time with his daughter at Jorgenson's.
After traveling past Walmart, it appears his pickup truck tires hit the cement median that separates the off ramp with the bridge. The truck then traveled about 30 feet, striking the pole head-on.
"As far as what caused that, it's too early in the investigation to really comment, but one can reasonably conclude that at least possible inattentive driving was a factor in it, but what may have caused the inattention is still yet to be determined," Lewis & Clark County Coroner Mickey Nelson said.
Simac was the owner of the Jackson Creek Saloon in Montana City. He leaves behind four children, including a 2-year-old son.
Investigators will await toxicology reports among other medical findings before making their final determination on the cause of the crash.