murdoch's crash polson dog babe

Photo: Life Savers Animal Rescue

POLSON - Authorities have released details on what led to a car crashing into the back of a ranch supply store on Jan. 8.

Lake County Sheriff Don Bell says on the afternoon of Jan. 8, a 76-year-old man was driving with a 57-year-old passenger.

The driver, identified as Mervin Payne, apparently suffered a heart attack while driving and the car veered across Highway 93, through a field and into the back of the Murdoch's store. 

Payne died of "natural causes" likely due to the cardiac event, Bell says.

His passenger, Crystal Anderson, was taken to the hospital where she also died of a heart attack.

Payne's dog survived the crash and was taken care of by Murdoch's staff while responders came to the scene.

The dog, Babe, is under the care of Life Savers Animal Rescue. They're working to transport the dog to Payne's family in Washington, according to a post from the nonprofit.

"The Lake County Sheriff’s Office would like to thank the staff at Murdoch’s of Polson for caring for a dog who was involved in the crash, while responders tended to the victims and the scene and Lifesaver’s animal rescue, who are facilitating care and transportation of the dog to the owner’s next of kin, who live out of state. 

We also wish to extend our condolences to the Payne and Anderson families."

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