BILLINGS – Road crews and emergency responders were busy this Christmas holiday with 19 reported crash-related calls into Montana Highway Patrol dispatch in the last 24 hours, in the Billings district.
With several new inches of snow falling on the eastern side of the state, Montana Highway Patrol says troopers continue to respond to dozens of crashes and slide-offs.
Sgt Andrew Knapp said the crashes are not necessarily reported as slide-offs but rather characterized in terms of how many vehicles are involved.
He said there was seven one vehicle, non-injury crashes reported in the Billings district over the Christmas day holiday. One crash involved multiple vehicles, but there were no injuries, there were two, one vehicle crashes with injuries, and two multiple-vehicle crashes were there were injuries reported to police.
Knapp also said there were three reported crashed involved animals on the roadway and two hit and run crashes.
“District 4, which is Billings was our busiest district,” said Knapp.
The district includes areas in Billings, Hardin, Red Lodge, Laurel and Columbus.
As troopers spent their time responding to those crashes, Knapp said one crash did involve a highway patrol trooper. The police cruiser slid off the roadway on the westbound direction of Interstate-90 at the South 27th street exit. The crash did minimal damage to the car, struck a road sign and was not injured.
The Christmas holiday was not without a deadly impact, however, as two people did die on Dec 24 on Interstate 90 between Manhattan and Belgrade. Slick roads and speed caused the car to slide head-on into a semi.
However, Sgt Knapp said the trend for deadly crashes on Montana roadways is sliding down. At last check, 2018 is proving to be a safer year in terms of fatal crash than 2017.
So far this year there have been 177 reported deadly crashes as opposed to 2017 where there were 184 deadly crashes on Montana roadways.
As for how much snow fell during Christmas?
3.5 inches of snow fell in Billings, Roundup had three reported inches and Miles City reported 2.7 inches of new snow.
Reporting by Andrea Lutz for MTN News