Driver killed in high-speed crash in downtown Libby

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What started as a report of a reckless driver eastbound on Highway 2 west of Libby ended when the black Jetta crashed into a light pole at Idaho Avenue, killing the driver. (Ben Kibbey/The Western News)

A report of a speeding car traveling east toward Libby on Highway 2 ended in a single fatality after the car struck a traffic light pole at the intersection with Idaho Avenue on Thursday.

When the black Volkswagen Jetta with Montana plates crashed into the pole, it knocked a traffic light to the ground and sent debris flying at least a block to the east.

The car reached about 90 mph during law enforcement’s attempt to stop the car, which accelerated while entering Libby, Montana State Highway Patrol Sgt. Neil Duram said at the scene.

The first reports came in from two drivers who told dispatch of a reckless driver speeding around mile marker 23 en route to Libby, Duram said.

After the crash, over the radio the car was reported on fire, and at the scene the area around the vehicle and the vehicle showed signs of a fire extinguisher being used, with small amounts of smoke coming from the car periodically.

Libby volunteer firefighters doused the car with water, then Libby Volunteer Ambulance members moved in with spreaders, electric saws and other equipment and began extrication with the firefighters’ help.

While first responders worked, the Lincoln County Coroner was called, but a time of death was not available at press time.

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