Victim identified in multi-vehicle crash near Sunburst
The Montana Highway Patrol has identified the victim of a 9-vehicle crash that occurred Monday afternoon just South of Sunburst. The patrol said that the crash was caused by strong winds that blew alkali across the highway creating white-out conditions.
Highway patrolman Mike Jensen identified the victim of the crash as Laura McKamey, 55 of Shelby. McKamey was involved with numerous civic organizations, maybe most known for her involvement with Special Olympics.
According to Trooper Jensen, the domino effect crash started with one Semi-truck crashing into another. The car driven by Mckamey was then rear ended by another semi after the car came to a stop. That semi was then rear-ended by a full size pickup from Mississippi. The driver of that pickup was airlifted to Great Falls by Mercy Flight.
An ambulance that was arriving on the scene ran into the pickup and a Sunburst school van then hit the ambulance. The Sunburst school van carrying 3 student golfers and an assistant coach rear-ended the ambulance. Sunburst Superintendent and fire chief Tim Tharp said that the students and coach had to be extricated and were transported to the hospital in Shelby but they did not have life threatening injuries.
Tharp said he has been an emergency responder since 1991 and has "never seen anything as bad as this." And there is more. After the ambulance and van separated, the van drifted off the side of the road and hit another car, while the ambulance ran into another semi-truck.
In all 9 vehicles were involved with the one fatality and several serious injuries, caused by the whiteout conditions on the Highway. The Highway was closed to traffic from mid-afternoon until just after 9:30 Monday night.