By Jason Stuart
A Glendive man was killed Wednesday night after being struck by an 18-wheeler along Interstate 94.
McLane Hathaway O’Brien, 38, died at the scene.
The incident occurred near mile marker 195 at approximately 6:40 p.m. along the westbound lane of I-94, according to Montana Highway Patrol Trooper Glenn Quinnell.
Quinnell said his investigation so far as revealed that “for an unknown reason,” O’Brien got out of a vehicle in the area and began walking down the westbound lane, where he was struck by the truck. Quinnell said the point of impact occurred in the driving lane.
O’Brien was dressed head-to-toe in dark clothing, according to Quinnell.
“(The truck driver) didn’t even know what he hit until he went back and saw it was a pedestrian,” Quinnell said. “He just knew he hit a dark object.”
The truck driver phoned in the accident. Toxicology tests are being run on the driver, but Quinnell said he has no reason to believe the driver was impaired. He said that, given the circumstances, he doesn’t think the driver bears any blame for the incident.
“I don’t see where he could have done anything different to avoid the situation,” Quinnell said.
As for O’Brien’s actions, Quinnell said that “preliminary indications” are that alcohol may have been a factor, but that won’t be conclusive until the toxicology report from the autopsy is complete.
Though pedestrian roadway fatalities are rare, Quinnell said there has been somewhat of “a rash” of them lately. He said he thinks Wednesday night’s incident makes a three in the last few months. The other two occurred near Columbus and Wolf Point, he said.
With increased traffic in the area, a spike in the number of cases involving impaired drivers and plenty of other transportation options available, Quinnell said there’s no good reason for pedestrians to be walking on or alongside any highways.
“Stay off the main roadways,” he advised pedestrians.
Published November 6, 2013