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The original item was published from 3/11/2015 9:25:06 AM to 4/1/2015 12:05:03 AM.

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Butte-Silver Bow

Posted on: March 11, 2015

[ARCHIVED] Woman averts injury by buckling up; earns award

A 180-degree pivot forced Lori Stenson’s car into the middle of a busy intersection in Butte on Jan. 2.

She looked around to see if anyone was hurt as traffic maneuvered around her four-door Pontiac that had just been struck by a driver who ran a red light at Harrison Avenue.

Thanks to Stenson wearing her seat belt, she averted a crash that could have resulted in serious injuries – or even death. Click.

On Wednesday, Stenson will receive a Saved by the Belt award for being safe, smart and buckling up.

“People don’t realize how important it is to wear a seat belt even in town, because anything can happen in a split second,” said Stenson, 30.

As the WIC coordinator for the Butte-Silver Bow County Health Department, she completed a 32-hour certification to become a car seat technician because she thought her clients – women, children and infants – could benefit.

One of eight children, the Butte native said she doesn’t remember wearing a seat belt as a child.

But the message came through loud and clear when a teacher at Butte High School impressed upon students the importance of buckling up, especially after she was rear-ended while stopped at a yellow light. She was 16.

“Teen-aged drivers think they’re invincible,” Stenson said.

Butte-Silver Bow Officer Ben Rauch nominated her for the Saved by the Belt award. He investigated the crash, in which Stenson said she saw the oncoming vehicle and tried to clear the left turn onto Harrison Avenue. The other driver made a “pretty good impact” when he hit the rear door of her Pontiac, Stenson said she was told.

Her injuries were minor: a strained neck and a sore collarbone.

Mary Jo Stosich, health educator at the Butte-Silver Bow Health Department, has known Stenson since she was a teen.

The award comes as no surprise to Stosich, who lauded the young woman’s volunteering at a monthly car seat clinic at the Uptown fire department and her fundraising efforts for the Special Olympics.

“She always does what is right. She is amazing,” Stosich said.

Read more on The Montana Standard
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