Flathead County Traffic Fatalities on Par With Past Years

By Beacon Staff

Despite what may seem like an unusual amount of traffic fatalities in the Flathead Valley recently, the area is on par with counts from past years.

Sgt. Steve Lavin with the Montana Highway Patrol in Kalispell, said he thought the valley would have lower than normal fatal crashes after the first three months of the year were mostly without incident. But things started to pick up as the spring and summer months approached.

“(The fatalities) are somewhat unpredictable,” Lavin said.

Last year, in Flathead County, which traditionally leads the state in highway fatalities, 25 people were killed in 22 crashes according to a Montana Highway Patrol report.

For the period January 1 through June 22, 2009, a more recent report by the department counted 18 fatalities in Kalispell. That number jumped to 19 after details surfaced that a crash in Somers last week resulted in yet another death. This is a slight increase from last year during the same period, which had 11 fatalities, but a decrease from 2007, when there were 26.

Lavin said in Montana, more fatal crashes have occurred on Sunday than any other day of week, in July more than any other month of the year, and between 4 and 5 p.m.

“I wish they’d (the numbers) just keep dropping,” Lavin said. “We’re doing all we can.”

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