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Newman Lake woman dies after snowmobile hits tree

LIBBY, Mont. — A 41-year-old woman from Newman Lake died early today of injuries suffered when her snowmobile hit a tree in northwestern Montana over the weekend.

Ronda Jo Emerson, co-owner of the Otis Grill restaurant in East Valley, was snowmobiling in the Spread Creek drainage on Sunday afternoon when her snowmobile struck a tree at about 1:30 p.m., said Lincoln County Sheriff Roby Bowe. She was stuck between the snowmobile and the tree.

The sheriff’s office received a 911 call shortly before 4 p.m. Emerson was treated at the scene by search and rescue responders and taken by ambulance to St. John’s Hospital in Libby, where she was pronounced dead early today.

Emerson and her husband, Vance, bought the restaurant in 2004, revamping the former hamburger joint into a full-service grill with a pop culture theme.