Liberty County Train Derailment – Sunday Release

Press Release

Sunday, September 26, 2021

(Chester, Liberty County, Mont)

As of 2:00 Sunday afternoon the Liberty County Sheriff’s office has been able to account for all of the passengers that were on board the Amtrak train that derailed yesterday.  Challenges included the number of patients, transports to 5 different medical facilities around the state and manifest discrepancies.  The passengers were triaged and treated at two community clinic/medical Center in Chester and Shelby.  Ten of those with more serious injuries were transported to Great Falls, Havre and Kalispell.  The number of fatalities remains at 3.  Next of kin are still being notified so the names will not be released at this time.  The Liberty County Sheriff’s has completed its investigation and will be transferring the scene to NTSB when they arrive later today.

Sheriff Erickson thanks the neighboring Counties and their first responders for the assistance, he said, “Or neighbors made a tragic event better and no doubt saved lives.”

Assisting Counties included; Glacier, Hill, Toole, Blaine, Phillips, Pondera, Chouteau and Cascade.

All press inquiries will be handled by Amtrak and by NTSB starting this afternoon.

Sheriff Nick Erickson

Liberty County Amtrak Derailment

Press Release

(Chester, Liberty County, Mont) At 3:57 P.M. MST on September 25, 2021, the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office received word of a significant train derailment near Joplin, Montana. The Sheriff’s Office and local fire departments responded immediately. There were between 100 and 150 people on board.  There were injuries that were transported to hospitals in the surrounding area. There were at least 3 deaths. Names are not being released until family can be notified.  Amtrak is working with the sheriff’s office and local EMS to transport uninjured passengers and reunite all other passengers with family. The National Transportation Safety Board is on its way to investigate the incident.

Our deepest condolences go to the family and friends of the people who were killed in this tragic event. We thank the law enforcement and firefighters for their prompt response and work to rescue passengers.####

All press inquiries will be handled by Amtrak.

Sheriff Nick Erickson

Reported Kidnapping

(Gallatin County, Mont.)

At 3:57 p.m. today, the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office, Bozeman Police Department, Belgrade Police Department and the Montana Highway Patrol responded to a report of an attempted kidnapping and homicide-in-progress. The call originated near Moffit Gulch Road and I-90.  The suspect vehicle was reported to be traveling westbound on I-90 traveling up to 120 miles per hour.  The suspect vehicle was stopped on I-90 near mile marker 304 where both directions of travel on I-90 were briefly closed.  Law enforcement was able to detain the suspects without further incident.  One adult female was transported by American Medical Response to Bozeman Health Deaconess Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.  All suspects are in-custody at this time and there is no threat to the public.  As this is an active investigation, additional details are not available at this time.#####


Man Killed in Avalanche Identified

2/15/21 9:50 A.M.

(Gallatin County, Mont)

The Gallatin County Coroners Office was contacted by Bozeman Health Sunday evening. The individual who was injured in an avalanche earlier in the day succumbed to his injuries and passed away. He is identified as 45 year old, Bozeman resident Craig Kitto. ####


Bridger Ridge Search

(Gallatin County, Mont.)

Sheriff’s Search and Rescue was dispatched Saturday night at 10:45 for an overdue 34 year old Gallatin County Man hiking from Fairy Lake to the M.  He and his father started this morning and were separated when dad decided the hike was more that he could do.  He waited at the M trail head then contacted the Sheriff’s Office.  Sheriff Gootkin stated it is not uncommon for people to underestimate the amount of time and effort that hike can require.  In this case we used a Life Flight Helicopter to search the ridge and had ground searchers ready to start the hike.  Fortunately a Deputy found the man on the Fairy Lake Road and made sure he made it out.  He added that SAR volunteers would rather get an early start and cancel than get the call late and be that much further behind.


Sheriff’s Office Searching for Man involved in Shooting near West Yellowstone

(West Yellowstone, Mont.)

On August 8, at approximately 4:27 pm the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office received a report of people being shot at in the Whiskey Bay area North of West Yellowstone.  The victims reported the suspect pointed the gun at them, then shot multiple rounds from a handgun into the ground.  There are eight agencies with over 40 personnel on scene looking for a white male, late 30’s or early 40’s, last scene driving a silver Toyota pickup with Texas plates and a silver topper.  If you see a vehicle matching this description do not attempt to make contact and call 911 immediately.  This person is considered armed and dangerous.  We do not have the suspect identified at this time but will update everyone as we confirm information.

Sheriff Brian Gootkin

Sheriff’s Search and Rescue looking for Bozeman Man

(West Yellowstone, Mont.)  Searchers from Sheriff’s SAR have been looking for 69 year old David Cole of Bozeman since Saturday evening.  He was last reported in the area of Tepee Creek,10 miles north of West Yellowstone.  Searchers found his vehicle stuck and running on the Tepee Cr. Road.  Cole could be wearing a blue/black plaid shirt and jeans and suffers from dementia.  Saturday night volunteers searched the area on foot and ATVs.  Helicopters from Life Flight Network and Two Bear Air from the Flathead County Sheriff’s Office also worked until early in Sunday morning.  Sunday 4 dog teams were in the area with foot searchers standing by.  It is possible that Mr. Cole could have abandoned his car and walked out to the highway and was given a ride.  Anyone with information can contact the West Yellowstone Police Department at 406-646-7600.

David Cole