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Woman arrested after fatal head-on crash

by KRISTI NIEMEYER
Editor | May 13, 2024 12:00 AM

A fiery head-on crash at the north end of the Armed Forces Bridge in Polson Sunday killed one motorist. The driver of the second vehicle was arrested for vehicular homicide while under the influence.

According to Polson Police Chief George Simpson, the southbound driver, Sarah Loschke, 29, appeared to have crossed into the northbound lane, striking the oncoming vehicle driven by Arden Cowan, 74. Cowan died at the scene, as did his dog. 

Loschke was transported to the hospital and subsequently arrested for vehicular homicide while under the influence, a felony. Her dog was taken to a veterinary clinic for evaluation. 

According to Simpson, Loschke was allegedly traveling faster than the speed limit of 35 mph and impairment is believed to have been a contributing factor. As of press time, she remained incarcerated at the Lake County Jail. 

Polson City Fire also responded and found both SUVs heavily engulfed in flames, with the fire spreading from one vehicle to the other. Bystanders and Emergency Medical Services (EMS) personnel were already in the process of removing the drivers from both vehicles.

The accident occurred at around 3:45 p.m., and the bridge was closed for approximately two hours.

A press release from the fire department expressed appreciation to Polson Ambulance, Polson Rural Fire Department, Lake County Office of Emergency Management, the Lake County Sheriff's Office, Lake County Dispatch, Polson Police Department, Montana Department of Transportation, Montana Highway Patrol, and City of Polson Fire Department volunteers for their help at the scene.

“This is a catastrophic day for everyone involved and it’s only exacerbated by the fact that it occurred on Mother’s Day,” Simpson said. “While we are grateful for the swift response and help from all the first responders involved, we are saddened by the situation. Both the Cowan and Loschke families are in our prayers.”

The Polson Police Department is handling the investigation with assistance from Montana Highway Patrol.