17-Year-Old Truck Driver Under Investigation After Crash Killing Two Motorists
Big Horn County, MT – A 17-year-old was behind the wheel of a semi hauling farm equipment when it veered into oncoming traffic and killed two men on Sunday in Montana, authorities say.
According to the Montana Highway Patrol (MHP), the accident occurred Sunday afternoon on Highway 313 between Hardin and St. Xavier.
A semi-truck hauling an empty grain trailer was traveling southbound around 1:30 p.m. when it swerved into the northbound lane in a “sweeping curve” on the highway, MHP Sergeant Kyle Hayter said.
The truck hit a four-door sedan traveling north, driven by 58-year-old Thomas Tauscher of Hardin, head-on.
The collision caused the sedan to travel off the road and briefly catch fire, local news outlet KPAX reported.
Tauscher, along with 67-year-old Jerry Lively, also of Hardin, were pronounced dead at the scene.
A third passenger in the sedan, an unidentified woman, was airlifted to a hospital in Billings.
Her injuries have not been made public at this time.
Big Horn County Coroner Terry Bullis told local media outlet Q2 it was “the most horrific” crash he’d seen in years.
Photos of the scene have not been shared by authorities.
The identity of the truck driver has not been released, but MHP said he is a 17-year-old boy from Hardin.
He was uninjured in the crash and was not issued a citation at the scene.
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The state of Montana requires the driver of a commercial motor vehicle to be at least 21-years-old for interstate travel.
Drivers must be at least 18 to obtain a commercial drivers license (CDL) for intrastate travel, according to the Montana Department of Justice.
However, the driver of the truck involved in Sunday’s fatal accident does not fall under Montana’s CDL requirements since the truck was being used for a farm operation, MHP said.
Hayter said when MHP concludes their investigation, the Big Horn County Attorney’s Office will be handed the case to determine if criminal charges should be filed against the boy.
Drugs and alcohol do not appear to be a factor in the accident, according to Hayter.
Transportation Nation Network will keep you updated on this case.