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Highway Patrol Identifies Man Killed In I-90 Wrong-Way Crash

Firefighters spray a semi truck in the aftermath of a head-on collision on I-90 near Missoula, March 20, 2019.
Missoula Fire Department

A man killed when the car he was driving on the wrong side of the highway collided with a semi tractor trailer has been identified as 62-year-old Martin J. Elison, of Missoula.

The Montana Highway Patrol says Wednesday afternoon’s accident occurred in the westbound lanes of Interstate 90.

Eyewitnesses say the impact blew the big-rig’s cab off into the opposite lanes of traffic.

Highway Patrol Trooper Jerril Ren tells Montana Public Radio that the truck driver, who has not been identified, is listed in serious condition at St. Patrick Hospital.

Ren says Elison struck another truck moments before the fatal wreck

"He did strike another vehicle seconds before the significant fatality crash. He sideswiped the side of a semi. The semi had minor damage. We don’t know what kind of damage the suspect vehicle sustained."

The accident investigation continues.

"We don’t know exactly what caused the individual to do what he did; it’s not even certain that we will know what made him do that. We have speculation, but right now it’s still under investigation," Ren says.

Trooper Ren says that accident scene was a first for him.

"I have not seen anything quite that explosive before."

The truck Elison hit was hauling wood chips and caught fire right after the collision. Eyewitnesses described an explosion after the impact.

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