A woman involved in a three-vehicle wreck on Monday morning was taken to the intensive care unit at St. Vincent Healthcare with multiple broken bones.
The 52-year-old from Billings was driving west on Highway 3 in her Ford Focus when a head-on collision on the road in front of her caused a truck to hit her car, which rolled and landed on its side in the barrow pit north of the highway.
The crash took place roughly a half mile east of Zimmerman Trail.
No serious injuries were initially expected, Sgt. Shane Winden of the Billings Police Department said. But after firefighters extricated the woman from her vehicle, they discovered both arms were broken in several places, and a broken femur was later discovered as well.
The woman was checked into the hospital in critical condition, but her status was updated to stable by midmorning, Winden said.
The wreck on the 50-mile-per-hour road began when a 21-year-old man driving west on Highway 3 attempted to turn left in front of oncoming traffic onto Hickok Circle, a small residential street near the Rims, Winden said.
The man, who was driving a passenger vehicle with California license plates, turned in front of an oncoming truck with a trailer hitched to the back. The vehicles collided, pushing the truck and trailer into the westbound lane and hitting a third car, the Ford Focus, that was driving west. The truck and Ford Focus spun into the barrow pit north of the highway, with the Ford Focus rolling on its side and the truck and trailer coming to stop in a field.
Morning traffic on the busy route was bumper-to-bumper for more than 20 minutes as responders reduced travel to a single lane.
At least 14 members of the Billings Fire Department worked to stabilize the Ford Focus and extricate the driver, the 52-year-old Billings woman.
The driver of the truck and trailer was a 35-year-old man from Simms, in Cascade County. None of the cars involved had passengers.
Firefighters had two engines, one truck and a rescue vehicle responding to the incident. Crash scene investigators later had the area roped off.
Drug or alcohol use were not suspected factors in the crash, Winden said. A retired Billings Fire employee was the first person on scene.