Restaurant and Bar Closures

(Gallatin County, Mont) Gallatin City-County Health Officer Matt Kelley issued an order for all restaurants and bars to be closed effective tonight at 9:00 pm. He has requested assistance from the Sheriff’s Office with this closure. Sheriff Gootkin will be available to reporters tomorrow morning at 10:00 am in the Detention Center Community Room to answer any questions.

Unlucky Friday the 13th for Colorado Woman

(Gallatin County, Mont) At 11:59 this morning, Gallatin County Sheriff’s Deputies responded to a snowmobile crash near the Idaho/Montana border, approximately 9 miles southwest of West Yellowstone. The rider, a 45-year-old woman from Denver, Colorado, suffered multiple injuries after accidentally riding her snowmobile into a deep crevasse in the snow. She sustained possible broken wrists, broken ribs, and a broken nose when the snowmobile came to a sudden stop and ejected her over the handlebars.

Rescuers from the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue in West Yellowstone and Hebgen Basin Rural Fire District responded to assist with the search. The rescue team located the injured snowmobiler and escorted her safely to an awaiting Hebgen Basin ambulance, which then transported her to the Big Sky Medical Center for evaluation.

Photo courtesy of Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office

West Yellowstone Snowmobile Injury

(Gallatin County, Mont.) Rescuers with Gallatin County Sheriff’s Search & Rescue in West Yellowstone and Hebgen Basin Fire Department assisted a snowmobiler who was injured in an incident near West Yellowstone.

At around 11:00 am on Friday February 28, 2020, a 22-year-old woman from Uruguay crashed her snowmobile and sustained a back and hip injury while snowmobiling on the Big Sky trail system, about 14 miles north of West Yellowstone. She missed a corner, went down an embankment, and crashed into a group of trees.

The initial caller’s cell phone would not allow dispatchers to accurately triangulate the location based on the 911 call. Another snowmobiler happened onto the scene and was able to provide GPS coordinates which allowed rescuers to respond very quickly to the exact location (44.8150,   -111.1068.)

Emergency responders reached the scene of the accident on snowmobiles with a specialized snow ambulance. The woman was placed on a backboard and loaded into the snow ambulance, then transported off the trail system to an awaiting ambulance from the Hebgen Basin Fire Department.  She was then transported by ambulance to the Big Sky Medical Center for further evaluation.

Photo courtesy of Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office

Cardiac Arrest Rescue

(Gallatin County, Mont) On February 16, 2020, at 11:00 a.m., Gallatin County Dispatch received a call regarding a cardiac arrest. The caller was cross-country skiing on the groomed trails to the east of Bozeman Health Deaconess Hospital when he came across a woman performing CPR on a man.

Members of the Bozeman Fire Department and Bozeman Police Department responded to the call and were able to walk to the subject’s location. The location was not accessible with an ambulance, so Gallatin County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue responded to the call. Multiple SAR members were at the SAR building and were able to respond immediately. SAR members used snowmobiles and a tracked four-wheeler pulling the ORION wagon to access the patient.

Despite the prompt deployment and response of SAR, medical, and law enforcement resources, the 66-year-old Belgrade man succumbed to a heart attack. Our condolences go out to the man’s family.

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The deceased man is Steve Schwab, a retired teacher at Bozeman High School.

Three Arrested on Homicide Charges

(Gallatin County, Mont.) On Wednesday, February 12, 2020, the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office arrested James Sasser Jr., Patricia Batts, and a juvenile male (uncle of the victim) for the offense of Deliberate Homicide. The charges are in reference to the death of 12-year-old James Alex Hurley outside of West Yellowstone, Montana, on or about February 3, 2020. The defendants’ initial appearances in Justice Court will be on February 13th at 10:30 am. The investigation is ongoing and Sheriff Gootkin can only comment on the information covered in the Affidavit of Probable Cause, which is public information.

Sheriff Gootkin will be available to talk to reporters at noon on Thursday, February 13, at the Gallatin County Detention Center.

Photo of James Hurley courtesy of Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office.

Buck Ridge Snowmobiler Rescue

(Gallatin County, Mont.) On February 9, 2020, Gallatin County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue in Big Sky received a call from a snowmobiler who reported that he had possibly broken his leg up Buck Ridge. GPS coordinates from the 911 call placed him in McAtee Basin, which helped Search and Rescue members locate him quickly. Life Flight flew to his location and with the help of numerous other snowmobilers, the patient was loaded into the helicopter and flown to medical care. Because the snowmobiler had a charged cell phone and cell service, the rescue went quickly and efficiently.

Photo courtesy of Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office

Stuck Snowmobiler Rescued

(Gallatin County, Mont.) On February 8, 2020 at about 8:30 PM, Gallatin County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue was called out for a report of a stuck snowmobiler. The 21-year-old local man was snowmobiling by himself near Fairy Lake and got stuck in a tree well. Search and Rescue members responded to the scene on snowmobiles and helped the man extricate his machine. The man stated that it was a big mistake for him to go out by himself. Sheriff Gootkin would like to remind snowmobilers to always take a buddy when heading out to play in the backcountry.

West Yellowstone Snowmobile Injury

(Gallatin County, Mont.) Rescuers with Gallatin County Sheriff’s Search & Rescue in West Yellowstone assisted a snowmobiler who was injured in an incident near West Yellowstone.

At around 3:25 p.m. on Wednesday February 5, 2020, a 30-year-old Minnesota man crashed his snowmobile and sustained a broken ankle while snowmobiling on the Big Sky trail system about 16 miles northwest of West Yellowstone. Rescuers were able to get to the man quickly because he was with friends and was able to call 911, providing an accurate location for the rescue personnel. Another group of snowmobilers in the area provided emergency heat blankets to the patient.

Emergency responders placed the man on a backboard and loaded him into a specialized snow ambulance, then transported him off the trail system to an awaiting ambulance from the Hebgen Basin Fire Department. He was transported by ambulance to Bozeman Health Hospital.

Photo courtesy of the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office.

Crosscountry Skier Injured near West Yellowstone

(Gallatin County, Mont.)  On Thursday January 30, 2020 at 3:30 pm, the West Yellowstone Police dispatch center received a 911 call from an injured crosscountry skier. The skier, a 53-year-old woman from Washington, had fallen while skiing on the Rendezvous Ski Trail about two mile south of the town of West Yellowstone. She had sustained a back injury and was unable to ski back to town.

Rescuers from the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue in West Yellowstone, Hebgen Basin Fire Department, and the Forest Service responded and met the injured skier at the scene of the accident. The skier was loaded onto a specialized snow ambulance and transported to the edge of town, where she was transferred to an ambulance and transported to the Big Sky Medical Center.

Sheriff Brian Gootkin would like to thank all of the rescue organizations which came together to execute a successful backcountry rescue.