‘Saved by the Belt’

By Beacon Staff

Remember the terrible four-vehicle accident on Montana Highway 82 last October that set a tractor-trailer hauling apples on fire? Amber King and her two children survived that crash, and will be recognized tomorrow with a safety award.

According to the Montana Highway Patrol, a van was heading westbound on Highway 82 when it veered into the eastbound lane for unknown reasons and struck a tractor-trailer. The tractor-trailer then skidded into westbound traffic, hitting King’s SUV. A Ford Taurus arrived at the point of contact afterward and experienced little damage. The top of the SUV was smashed while the tractor-trailer was severely damaged. The van’s driver, Trenton Thornton, 24, was killed.

King was wearing her seat belt and her two children were properly restrained in their car seats. Law enforcement officers say the safety measures saved their lives.

King and her children will be given the Saved by The Belt Award on Friday, May 22 at noon at at the Montana Highway Patrol headquarters, 121 Financial Drive, Suite D. The Flathead Valley Safe Kids Safe Communities Coalition is coordinating this presentation in conjunction with the National May Mobilization Campaign.

“Wearing your seat belt is the single most important safety step you can take when traveling in a motor vehicle,” Wendy Olson, Safe Kids Safe Communities coordinator, said in a press release. “We encourage everyone whether you are traveling around town or on the highway to buckle up every trip, every time.”

Olson noted that, when worn correctly, seat belts have been proven to reduce the risk of fatal injury to front-seat passenger car occupants by 45 percent, and by 60 percent in pickup trucks, SUVs and minivans.

And if that doesn’t convince you to wear your seatbelt, take a look at this post-crash picture of the King’s SUV:

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