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A Shepherd-area woman died and another woman was taken to a Billings hospital by helicopter after a three-vehicle wreck Friday afternoon on Highway 87 North.

Montana Highway Patrol Trooper Mark Tome said at the scene that it appears a Chevrolet Suburban and a Toyota pickup truck were northbound on Highway 87 when they collided with a southbound Ford F350 pulling a horse trailer at about 4:40 p.m.

According to an MHP incident report, the crash happened when the Chevy and Toyota ran into eachother. Both vehicles went into the southbound lane, where the Ford struck the Toyota and pushed it for about 50 feet.

Tome said inattentive driving likely played a role.

The Toyota's driver, a 61-year-old Shepherd-area woman whose name hasn't been released, died at the scene.

The 40-year-old female driver of the Chevy, who is from Musselshell County, was flown by HELP Flight to St. Vincent Healthcare with numerous injuries that included broken ribs but was recovering Friday night, Tome said. The driver of the Ford and a young girl who was a passenger received minor injuries.

The crash happened near mile marker 22, just south of the Yellowstone-Musselshell county line and about 20 miles north of Billings.

Emergency crews shut down both lanes of traffic, and cars were backed up for nearly two miles before the roadway was reopened around 7 p.m.

The three vehicles involved all received heavy damage. The Ford ended up on the west side of the road with heavy front-end damage. Next to it, the Toyota was crumpled and nearly unrecognizable.

About 50 feet to the north, the Chevy suffered extensive front-end damage and both of its driver's side doors were torn off, although it wasn't immediately clear if that was from the crash or emergency responders.

Tome said the crash remains under investigation.

On the scene were the Montana Highway Patrol, Yellowstone and Musselshell county sheriff's offices, American Medical Response, Shepherd Fire and the St. Vincent Healthcare HELP Flight helicopter.

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