UPDATE – Victim Identified in Blue Mountain Road Crash [YouTube]
UPDATE; 12:00 p.m. Wednesday, June 10
The Missoula County Coroner has released the name of the woman killed in a car accident last night about ten miles up Blue Mountain Road. 35-year-old Kristal Hodges of Missoula died after the vehicle she was driving left the roadway at approximately 11:30 PM. The Ford Focus went off a cliff and rolled multiple times. Hodges was partially ejected from the vehicle and pronounced dead on-scene.
A 20-year-old male and an adult female were transported to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries. Alcohol and speed are being investigated as factors in the crash.
One woman is dead and two other individuals are injured after a terrifying crash late Tuesday night sent a vehicle 300 feet off a cliff on a Forest Service Road on the way to the Blue Mountain Observatory.
Missoula Rural Fire Battalion Chief Blaine Cowan said the call came in at about 11:40 p.m.
"The car ended up being about 300 feet down the embankment," Cowan said. "The vehicle landed on its top. Two of the victims were able to self extricate, one of them was able to crawl up the embankment to the road, while the other needed some assistance from our crews, and we remained on scene to assist law enforcement with the deceased victim."
Approximately 12 Missoula Rural firefighters took part in the rescue operation in difficult nighttime conditions.
"We called the Med-Star helicopter, but had to wave them off because there simply was no safe place to land," he said. "We had three fire engines there, two were smaller ones, and between hand-held flashlights and scene lighting provided by our engines, that proved to be not quite as effective as we would have liked, but most of our folks have lanterns on their helmets and that seemed to work well enough to get our folks up and down the embankment safely."
Montana Highway Patrol and the Missoula County Sheriff's Office were also involved in the rescue. The accident is under investigation by the Highway Patrol.
The two survivors of the crash were taken to St. Patrick Hospital.
Cowan said his crews had just wrapped up the scene at about 4:00 a.m.