Officials Release IDs of Columbia Falls Crash Victims

By Beacon Staff

Sanders County officials have released the names of a Columbia Falls couple killed in a fiery head-on crash near Paradise.

Deputy Coroner Dan Bates told the Daily Inter Lake that 78-year-old Rudy Arriaga and 60-year-old Beverly L. Smith-Arriaga died at the scene of the crash on Montana 135 at about 5:30 p.m. Saturday.

The Montana Highway Patrol says Arriaga swerved off the road, traveled back onto the highway and crossed into the oncoming lane, hitting an SUV. Their car caught fire.

Bates says four people in the SUV were hospitalized, including two that were airlifted to St. Patrick Hospital in Missoula. Their names have not been released.