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Dayton woman, daughter among 3 killed in crash east of Kalispell

by HILARY MATHESON
Daily Inter Lake | March 8, 2021 1:44 PM

Three people died in a fiery head-on collision Saturday on Montana 35 in the Creston area east of Kalispell.

Montana Highway Patrol was dispatched just before 11 p.m. Saturday to the scene of Montana 35 and Indian Ridge Road, where three people were pronounced dead. The Flathead County Sheriff’s Office on Monday identified the deceased as Abigail Johnson, 14, and her mother, Melodi Johnson, 42, of the Dayton area, and Kevin Hunt, 28, of Kalispell, who was the lone occupant of his vehicle.

An injured 14-year-old Dayton girl, who was also one of the woman’s passengers, was taken to Kalispell Regional Medical Center, where she was listed in stable condition Sunday.

According to the Montana Highway Patrol, Hunt was driving a 2005 GMC Sierra 2500 northbound on Montana 35 when it crossed the centerline for an unknown reason and went into the southbound lane, colliding head-on with a 2016 Dodge Caravan being driven by Melodi Johnson.

The GMC caught fire after the crash and became engulfed in flames. The Dodge came to a rest in the center of the roadway, facing south.

It is unknown if Hunt was wearing his seat belt, according to troopers. Johnson and her two passengers were wearing their seat belts.

Road conditions were dry. Speed is a suspected factor in the crash, which is under investigation by the Montana Highway Patrol.

There have been 39 traffic fatalities on Montana highways in 2021.