Symphony's Cascade Quartet Walks Away from Head-On Crash


The Great Falls Symphony has a lot to be grateful for this weekend as four of its principal members survived a near head-on collision Thursday near Seeley Lake.

For Cascade Quartet members Megan Karls, Mary Papoulis, Thad Suits and Maria Ritzenthaler, the drive started out just like the many others they had taken as a group. The quartet was returning from the Arts Northwest Conference in Tacoma, Wash.

At around 9:30 p.m. on Montana Highway 200 just past Clearwater Junction, driver Maria Ritzenthaler saw something you never want to see when you’re behind the wheel.

“All of a sudden there was a car in our lane of traffic coming toward us,” she said.

Ritzenthaler had just seconds to make a decision. She turned the wheel to the left trying to avoid the oncoming vehicle. She thinks she remembers honking the horn.

The other driver must have realized what was happening, Ritzenthaler said, because the car was attempting to pull back into its own lane when it struck the quartet’s rental car, crumpling the front bumper and driver’s side door.

See the full article from the Tribune by clicking HERE.

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