Missoula County Coverage

Nov 29, 2012 9:31 PM by Cristy Aranguiz - KPAX News

No cell service on Highway 12 can be dangerous

LOLO - A mail carrier drove her usual route on U.S. Highway 12 outside of Lolo on Monday.

The SUV hit a rock and tumbled 40 feet down into Lolo Creek where she lay trapped. Because her cellphone had no signal, she couldn't reach 911, so she honked her horn to alert passersby.

She was lucky that three people stopped to help her and drove to an area with service to call for help.

But this is hardly the first emergency incident on the stretch of highway where lack of communication has been a serious issue.

Currently, as you head west of Lolo on Highway 12, cell phone service disappears until you drive about 100 miles into Idaho.

The road can be dangerous, says Jason Johnson, the Missoula County Sheriff's Office public information officer.

"As happened yesterday, when someone goes off road there, there's no cell service and they're not able to call, it's tough," he said.

A representative of Verizon Wireless who told us the challenges of providing cell phone coverage west of Lolo have nothing to do with topography.

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