A Virginia City man died Sunday afternoon in a single vehicle accident on Montana Highway 287 just east of Alder.
Jim Rodgers, 70, was driving in his pick-up truck with his two grandchildren, ages 9 and 11, when he drifted onto the narrow shoulder of the road, said Madison County Undersheriff Roger Thompson.
From the evidence at the scene of the accident, Rogers appeared to over correct in an attempt to pull the truck back on to the highway. He lost control and rolled the truck, ejecting himself and both children, Thompson said.
Rogers was pronounced dead at the scene and the two children were life flighted – the youngest to a hospital in Missoula and the oldest to a hospital in Spokane.
As of Monday afternoon, the child in Missoula had been taken out of the intensive care unit, while the child in Spokane remained in ICU, he said.
Neither alcohol nor speed appeared to be a factor in the accident, Thompson said. In fact, from the evidence at the scene Rogers was driving at or below the speed limit.
No one in the vehicle were wearing seatbelts, which in likely the reason they were all ejected.
“It’s an unfortunate tragedy that might have been prevented if seatbelts had been worn,” Thompson said.