By Tim Leeds
A driver was killed this morning in a head-on collision with a tractor-trailer west of Havre, the Montana Highway Patrol said.
About 8:40 a.m. a Ford Escort collided with a Burlington Northern Santa Fe tractor-trailer about 13 miles west of Havre on U.S. Highway 2, near the turnoff to Fresno Reservoir.
The female driver of the red car was prounced dead at the scene.
Highway Patrol officer Roger Hinckley said the driver of the truck was not seriously injured.
Hinckley did not release the names of the drivers.
He said the cause of the accident had not been determined.
"We're still trying to put it together," he said at the scene.
The accident happened in front of Kyle Donoven's house. Donoven said he heard the crash, but did not see it happen.
"I just came out and saw this," he said, nodding at the scene.
Jason Echelard said he was in a vehicle about a quarter mile east of the scene when the crash happened.
"All we saw was just a big cloud of smoke," he said.
The crash pushed the front end of the driver's side of the car nearly into the passenger section. The Escort spun around and came to rest in the south borrow pit with its rear end pressed against a fence and its front facing the highway.
The truck continued west, crossing the eastbound lane and and also coming to rest in the south borrow pit.
The accident left pieces of the vehicles and rubber from blown tires strewn on the highway from the scene of the crash where the truck came to rest more than 100 yards away.
Havre firefighters, Hill County sheriff's deputies and members of the Kremlin Volunteer Fire Department responded to the scene.
Fuel was leaking from the truck, and firefighters used foam as a precaution to keep the fumes from igniting.
BNSF will clean up the diesel fuel spill, said Havre firefighter Mel Paulson.
The accident brings Montana's 2003 highway fatalities to 160, Highway Patrol officials said.