West Glacier, MT – Park rangers and local emergency response personnel are responding to a significant number of incidents this week. On Monday a car crash closed the Going-to-the-Sun Road for hours. Incidents have continued. A.L.E.R.T. helicopter has transported patients from the park to hospital care five times this week.
Late Tuesday afternoon, a second car crash on the Going-to-the-Sun Road closed the road approximately one mile east of Apgar for over two hours. The driver reportedly fell asleep behind the wheel and drifted off the roadway, grazing trees and traveling through a ditch before returning to the road way in an uncontrolled manner. The trees likely prevented the car from traveling into Lake McDonald. Four of the six occupants were transported to the hospital via ambulance.
Traffic was stopped at the West Entrance Station heading east, and westbound traffic was stopped at the scene of the accident. Traffic backed up past Lake McDonald Lodge towards Avalanche Creek, over 10 miles.
Two other minor motor vehicle accidents were reported during that time.
Early in the morning, park rangers and A.L.E.R.T. helicopter responded to a concession employee who was thrown from a new horse and trampled at the Many Glacier horse corral. She is in stable condition.
At approximately 12 pm, park rangers responded to a bicycle crash on Going-to-the-Sun Road near St. Mary Falls. The 60-year-old male cyclist swerved and fell off his bike to avoid a collision with a probable grizzly bear who was running out of the trees along the road. The cyclist suffered momentary loss of consciousness but was stable upon transport via Babb Ambulance and A.L.E.R.T. helicopter. The park thanks a passing motorist with a paramedic certification for providing patient care, and a Red Bus driver for reporting the incident via satellite phone and assisting on scene until park rangers arrived.