Local girl struck by SUV on N. Haynes

A combination of distracted driving, an unlit road and black clothing were all factors in a Tuesday night accident when a driver hit a pedestrian, according to Montana Highway Patrol Trooper Scott McDermott.

The accident occurred on North Haynes Avenue between Main Street and Leighton Boulevard. The call came in to the patrol at 6:15 p.m.

McDermott said three juveniles were walking northbound on the shoulder of the road on the east side of Haynes, though there was a sidewalk on the other side, he pointed out. 

The driver of a Ford Explorer, an 18-year-old Miles City woman whose name was not released, also was headed north when she became distracted and crossed the white fog line and drove into the shoulder.

The oldest pedestrian, a 15-year-old un-named local girl, was the farthest one out on the asphalt and was wearing black clothing from head to toe, he said.

Since everyone was headed north, the pedestrians didn’t see the driver.

McDermott said the girl suffered “significant injuries” and was transferred to Holy Rosary Healthcare by Miles City Fire and Rescue ambulance. He was able to talk with the victim later. She was transported by ground to a Billings hospital.

He said the victim had some facial injuries and was “banged up pretty bad,” but nothing life-threatening. “Obviously, it could have been much worse.” He said he heard the girl may be released later this week.

McDermott said the driver was not hurt but “was pretty upset.”

The Miles City Police Department assisted in the investigation and closed that stretch of the street for more than an hour.

One lane was reopened as the initial investigation was conducted.

If a ticket is issued, it will be after the investigation is complete, and after McDermott talks with Custer County prosecutor Wyatt Glade.

The speed limit had been raised from 25 mph to 30 mph on that stretch of Haynes recently but McDermott said there was no indication that that played any part in the accident.

He stressed for drivers not to do anything that will distract them from driving, and said pedestrians should use sidewalks, when they are available, and wear light and reflective clothes when walking in the dark.