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Vigil honors Florence Highway 93 fatality victim

HWY 93 Vigil for Christine Howe on February 5th, 2021
Huson residents Chris and Liz Fowler memorialize lives lost to HWY 93 accidents
Posted at 2:25 PM, Feb 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-08 16:25:22-05

LOLO — Tragedy struck last week when 61-year-old Florence resident Christine Howe died in a multi-vehicle crash north of Florence on US Highway 93.

Howe was heading home on Highway 93 on Jan. 29, when she was rear-ended and pushed into oncoming traffic, according to Montana Highway Patrol.

She was pronounced dead on scene.

Community members stood together Friday evening for a silent vigil along the bike trail from Lolo to Florence.

Carrying homemade white crosses and waving at passing traffic, participants paid respect to Howe’s life and others who’ve lost their lives along this stretch of highway.

Lolo resident Kevin Noland said last week’s accident highlights the need for safety improvements.

“We're trying to highlight that there is a safety risk. We shouldn't have to risk our lives, just to go home from work, or from school," Noland said.

Noland said the community is asking for solutions.

“You hope to create awareness that elected officials, higher than local people, we’re trying to get the governor's attention, trying to say 'hey we're crying for help'," Noland said.

Chris and Liz Fowler, along with their family, also came out to stand in solidarity and raise awareness.

The couple had their own personal experience to share.

“We were headed back home, talking about going home and having a barbecue, and the next thing I remember, I was waking up and I was told I was in Spokane,” Chris Fowler said.

Fowler woke up in a Spokane hospital three weeks after a multi-vehicle crash that left one person dead in August of 2018.

That accident happened just three miles north of last week’s fatality.

“I'm really not here to point any fingers. I'm here to get enough people together to find a solution. So you can go to work, you can go home, see your family, and have a safe drive. And, you know, I think if we get enough people together, we'll figure out a way to do that,” Fowler said.

MTN News spoke with Montana Department of Transportation officials earlier this week about their thoughts on changes to Highway 93.