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Two Collisions At Intersections Recently End Drastically Differently

Two recent collisions at different intersections in northeast Montana ended very differently for those involved. One in tragedy and one with only minor injuries.

The first occurred Saturday, July 23, at the intersection of U.S. Highway 2 and Montana Highway 117 at Nashua.

A 2000 GMC Safari, driven by Lorena Mast, 55, of Nashua. Mast was traveling northbound on Montana Highway 117 when she failed to stop at the stop sign and continued onto U.S. Highway 2, intending on turning left, and pulled out into the path of an eastbound vehicle. The eastbound vehicle was a 2015 Dodge Grand Caravan, driving by Robert Heikens, 92, of Nashua. Heikens’ wife, Helen, 87, was a passenger in the van. Both were pronounced deceased at the scene.

Mast, a former teacher at Frazer Schools, was also declared deceased at the scene.

Mast had six juvenile passengers with her. Two were ejected, including one two-year-old child who was strapped into a carseat that had been properly buckled into the Safari. The force of the impact tore the strapping away from the van and the carseat with the child in it was thrown from the vehicle and went skidding down the highway, reported Montana Highway Patrol Sergeant Jeff Kent.

All Mast’s passengers were treated at Frances Mahon Deaconess Hospital in Glasgow with non-life-threatening injuries, according to Kent.

Kent praised Valley County Deputy Jake Kinder, who was the first law enforcement officer on the scene, as well as passersby who stopped to provide assistance to the occupants of the two vehicles.

The second collision occurred Thursday, July 28, at the intersection of U.S. Highway 2 and Montana Highway 13 east of Wolf Point.

A 2012 Ford Flex, driven by Sandra Schoonover, 66, of Surprise, Ariz., was traveling northbound on Montana Highway 13. Schoonover intended to turn left onto U.S. Highway 2, failed to yield to oncoming traffic, pulled out and struck the trailer axles on a trailer pulled by a 1997 Peterbilt semi. The Peterbilt was driven by a 38-year-old male from Tulsa, Okla., and was pulling a large 53-foot trailer with a 74-foot load of pipes.

The driver of the Peterbilt took clear evasive maneuvers and veered onto the northbound side of Montana Highway 13 and stopped.

Due to the Peterbilt’s driver’s quick evasive maneuvers, the occupants of the Flex — two adult females and a juvenile female — suffered only minor injuries, said Kent.

Schoonover was cited for failing to yield to a vehicle on a through highway. The owner of the Flex, Andrea Baker of Wolf Point, was issued a citation for permitting the operation of a vehicle without liability insurance.

Kent reported that the Wolf Point Volunteer Fire Department and Fort Peck Tribes Department of Law and Justice were a great deal of help and had a quick response to the scene. Wolf Point Ambulance Service responded with two ambulances and provided on-the-scene assessment of the occupants of the Flex.

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