LIBBY – Authorities have released the name of a Missoula man who died in a Thursday evening crash in Libby.
Montana Highway Patrol Captain Duane Bowers says that Taylor Ray Alford, 31, died after his vehicle hit a light pole at the intersection of US Highway 2 and Idaho Street shortly and burst into flames just after 5 p.m. on Thursday.
MHP troopers who were nearby investigating an earlier vehicle vs. pedestrian fatal crash were alerted of a possible DUI driver that just passed through the crash scene by several passing motorists.
Capt. Bowers says witnesses advised the troopers that a vehicle was traveling east from Troy at a high rate of speed, crossing both lanes of traffic and running other motorists off the road.
Law enforcement caught up to the vehicle as it came into the west side of Libby where the driver continued to speed, weave in and out of heavy traffic and failed to yield to the patrol cars with lights and sirens activated.
A Lincoln County Sheriff’s deputy and Libby police officer pulled in behind the vehicle as it passed them and the vehicle continued eastbound failing to slow or stop, according to Capt. Bowers.
The vehicle quickly accelerated to approximately 100 mph in the 25 mph speed zone crossed into oncoming traffic, swerved across four lanes and then hit an overhead traffic light post. The vehicle then burst into flames.
Capt. Bowers reports that drugs and/or alcohol are not considered to be factors in the crash at this time adding that a possible medical emergency may have occurred.
The Montana Highway Patrol is still investigating the crash and Alford’s body has been taken to the Missoula state Crime Lab in Missoula for toxicology tests and an autopsy.