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One Killed in Fiery Crash Near Pipestone Pass

Crash Investigator
Photo courtesy of Hanna Minsky

A speeding pickup truck went off Montana Highway 2 near the top of Pipestone Pass south of Butte and caught fire, killing its 15-year-old driver.

Butte-Silver Bow Coroner Lee LaBreche on Friday identified the victim as Butte High student Kelsi Stratford. Officers say she was going to Thompson Park to meet a friend Thursday afternoon when the crash happened.

The Montana Highway Patrol says a passer-by spotted smoke near the highway at about 4 p.m.

Trooper Ken Klapan tells The Montana Standard the pickup went off the curvy road, struck a berm, became airborne and landed in a ravine about 125 yards from the highway. He says it appears the pickup truck’s gas tank ruptured on impact, starting a fire that destroyed the vehicle.

Butte High Principal John Metz says counselors were available at school Friday.

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