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Five injured in two highway accidents

| August 20, 2004 12:00 AM

Alcohol, speed and lack of seatbelt use were factors in a pair of serious accidents on Lincoln County highways last weekend according to the Montana Highway Patrol.

Three Idaho men were seriously injured early Friday, Aug. 13, when a southbound 1992 Toyota pickup driven by 20-year-old Jonathan Martin of Salmon went off Montana Highway 56 in the Bull Lake area and flipped end over end.

Martin apparently passed out around 12:25 a.m. and his pickup ran off the right side of the road, went airborne over a driveway and then hit a guardrail before flipping, said Highway Patrol Sgt. Duane Bowers.

Martin and his two passengers, 24-year-old Bobby Irons and 25-year-old Hebert Miller, all suffered serious injuries and were transported to St. John¹s Lutheran Hospital by ambulance, Bowers said. None of the men wore a seatbelt, Bowers said.

On Saturday night, two Kalispell men were injured — one critically — in a high-speed crash on Farm to Market Road near mile marker 1.

A southbound 1991 Dodge car driven by Derrick Freeman, 29, was traveling an estimated 90 to 100 mph in a 25-mph zone when it went off the road and hit a speed limit sign, a telephone pole and a phone box before striking a large tree head-on. Both Freeman and his passenger, 24-year-old Dennis Heindell, were ejected through the windshield.

Freeman suffered serious injuries, and Heindell remained in critical condition several days after the accident, Bowers said.

Bowers said the Highway Patrol has received a number of complaints of vehicles traveling at excessive speeds on Farm to Market Road and extra patrols are being conducted in the area.