A Montana woman died in a traffic accident on Interstate Highway 90 south of Sheridan, which the Wyoming Highway Patrol estimates to have occurred at about 3 Tuesday afternoon. Passenger reportedly tries to steer vehicle:

According to a release from the Highway Patrol, Laureen Emmert, 53, of Columbia Falls, Montana, died after the vehicle she was riding in left the roadway and crashed into drainage ditch.

The narrative says that Laureen was a passenger in a vehicle driven by Rodney Emmert, when she unbuckled her seat belt to try and get something off the floorboard.

Rodney reportedly unbuckled his seat belt to help her, while she attempted to steer the vehicle. Rodney told the troopers that the cruise control was set at 75 mph when the vehicle left the roadway.

Troopers believe the vehicle crossed the median and became airborne, struck some trees in a ravine and struck a concrete culvert, coming to rest in a creek dense with cattails and brush.

Because there were no skid marks and the crash site was hidden from view, the crash was undiscovered until the Emmerts failed to arrive at their destination. Relatives reported they had only brief contact with Rodney, during which they heard, "south of Sheridan, need help, send helicopter," before the cell phone failed.

Highway Patrol searched the area but it was highway construction worker who spotted the wreck in the ravine, some 21 hours after the crash. Laureen Emmert was declared dead at the scene. Rodney Emmert was transported to Sheridan Memorial Hospital.