Local Men Spend Cold Night on Sixteen Mile

(Gallatin County, Mont.) Sheriff’s Search and Rescue were sent to the North end of Gallatin County this morning to rescue two local men that spent the night in single digit temperatures.  At 7:00 this morning the Meagher County Sheriff’s Office received a 911 call from a 19 year old Gallatin Valley man who stated he and a friend were stuck on 16 mile road and had spend the night there.  Sixteen Mile Road is the furthest north county road and goes from Maudlow to Ringling.  This road is often impassable due to snow drifts or muddy conditions.  The area has virtually no cell service and no full time winter residents.  Volunteer Rescuers equipped with snowmobiles and 4×4 trucks reached the area at 9:30.  They found the two men cold but otherwise uninjured and gave them a ride back to the valley.  They stated they started the drive Sunday afternoon about 3:00.  They were doing ok until the storm hit and dropped visibility to the point where they ran into a snowdrift and became stuck.  They had to run the motor to stay warm with the single digit temperatures and strong winds but they ran out of gas about 5:00 this morning.   This morning one of the men walked between 3 and 4 miles and found a high spot where he was able to make a 911 call which routed to White Sulphur Springs.

Sheriff Gootkin reminds people that staying with your car in the winter increases your chances of survival.  Run the motor sparingly and be sure to keep the tail pipe clear of obstruction so carbon monoxide doesn’t build up in the cab.

Massachusetts Man Injured in Snowmobile Crash

(Gallatin County, Mont.)  Friday at 3:20 pm., the West Yellowstone Police Department Dispatch center received a 911 call reporting a snowmobile crash on the South Plateau Trail approximately 3 miles southwest of the Town of West Yellowstone. The injured party, a 61-year-old man from Massachusetts, sustained a rib injury when the snowmobile he was riding on left the trail and crashed into a tree.

Rescuers from  Sheriff’s Search and Rescue in West Yellowstone, Hebgen Basin Rural Fire District, Air Idaho Rescue and Montana Fish & Game responded.

Rescuers met the injured party at the scene of the crash approximately thirty minutes after the initial call for help.  After an initial assessment of his injuries, rescuers made a determination to land a medical helicopter on the trail to fly the patient to Bozeman Health Hospital.  Due to the severe impact to the chest cavity and the pre-existing heart issue, rescue personnel decided to transport to a hospital in the quickest means possible.

Gallatin County Sheriff Brian Gootkin would like to remind snowmobilers to be careful when recreating in the backcountry, even when on a groomed trail.  Changing terrain and trail conditions can sometimes bring unexpected adventure to a fun day of snowmobiling.  Always remember to ride with a partner and carry a reliable means of communication in case of an emergency.

Photo courtesy of the Sheriff’s Office.

Gallatin Canyon Assault

(Gallatin County, MT) On Friday, December 28, 2018, at about 1:45 PM, deputies were called to a residence off Highway 191 near the Lava Lake trail head. The caller reported that a person had been stabbed in the chest.

The caller advised dispatchers that the occupants of the residence had been using illegal drugs and the suspect had possibly become paranoid that the others were going to harm her. Deputies learned that the suspect had wanted to leave the residence and the other occupants stated that they could not drive due to their recent drug use. The woman’s boyfriend attempted to comfort her and when he approached her, she used a folding knife to stab him once, in the upper chest area.

The woman then fled the residence and flagged down a passing motorist. When deputies arrived, they located the woman in the motorist’s vehicle alongside the roadway. The woman had the knife with her and was taken into custody and placed in the back seat of a patrol vehicle.

One deputy stayed with the woman while others went to the residence to locate and assist the victim. At this time, the woman began to kick at the windows of the patrol vehicle. When the deputy opened the door to attempt to restrain her further, she kicked at the deputy and was able to exit the vehicle. Deputies who were attempting to assist the victim had to return to the roadway and assist in restraining the woman.

The victim was transported to Bozeman Health Deaconess Hospital for treatment of the non-life threatening injury. The suspect was arrested and charged with Felony Assault with a Weapon and misdemeanor Obstructing a Peace Officer.

North Carolina Man Injured in Snowmobile Crash

(Gallatin County, Mont.)  On Saturday December 29, 2018 at 9:30 am, the West Yellowstone Police Department Dispatch received a 911 call reporting a snowmobile crash on the Two Top Trail, approximately 8 miles west of West Yellowstone. The injured party, a 26-year-old man from North Carolina, had sustained a major head and face injury when the snowmobile he was riding on left the trail and crashed into a tree.

Personnel from the Sheriff’s Search and Rescue in West Yellowstone and Hebgen Basin Rural Fire Department responded.

Rescuers met the injured party at the scene of the crash approximately forty-five minutes after the initial call for help.  The injured man was conscious, but not alert and unable to verbally respond to rescuers.  The man had major facial contusions and a significant head injury.  Due to heavy snow and wind, rescue personnel were unable to launch a rescue helicopter.  The patient was treated on scene by paramedics, placed in a specialized rescue sled, and transported to a nearby location to meet an ambulance crew.  The ambulance then transported the patient to Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center.

Photo credit: Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office

Washington Woman Injured in Snowmobile Crash

(West Yellowstone, Mont.) Wednesday at 3:37 p.m., West Yellowstone Police Department Dispatch received a call from a woman reporting that her daughter had been involved in a snowmobile crash. The injured snowmobiler, a 21 year old female from Gig Harbor Washington, had sustained injuries to her ribs, back and neck when her snowmobile collided with another snowmobile at an intersection. She was ejected over the front of the snowmobile. Rescuers from Sheriff’s Search and Rescue in West Yellowstone, Mt Fish Wildlife and Parks, and Hebgen Basin Fire Department responded to assist. They located the injured snowmobiler approximately 10 miles northwest of West Yellowstone using the gps coordinates retrieved from the 911 call. She was quickly packaged onto a rescue sled and transported a short distance where they met a waiting Hebgen Basin Fire Department Ambulance. She was transported to the Big Sky Medical Center in Big Sky.

Gallatin County Sheriff Brian Gootkin would like to remind people enjoying the backcountry to ride within their abilities and understand the capabilities of their individual machine. When approaching intersections or blind corners snowmobilers should slow down appropriately to allow for the maneuverability necessary to avoid a potential collision

I-90 Fatal Accident

A multi vehicle accident on I-90 late Christmas Eve claimed the lives of two local people. Laci D Burkhart, 35, of Willow Creek, and Judd Richard Smutt, 41, of Bozeman were killed when the vehicle they were in traveled across the median and struck an eastbound semi head on. They were both pronounced dead on the scene. Although the semi jackknifed into another vehicle, no one else was injured in the accident. 

ITunes Scam

(Gallatin County, Montana) The latest gift card scam reported to the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office involves iTunes cards. In this case, someone hacked a Yahoo account and sent out requests to the contact list, asking for them to purchase iTunes gift cards and email the codes on the cards. The emails contained enough information to sound plausible to the recipients. The emails were sent out on more than one email account. If you receive any communication over email or social media that involves gift cards, investigate further before acting on it, even if you recognize the sender.

Gallatin County finalizes Logan Landfill land exchange

After over a decade of work, a land swap between Gallatin County and the state has been finalized, giving the county ownership of the ground the Logan Landfill sits on, and increasing access to public lands for citizens and visitors.

On Tuesday, Dec. 18, Gallatin County Commission Chair Steve White signed closing documents finalizing a land exchange between Gallatin County and the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation. White was joined by Jim Simon, district manager of Gallatin Solid Waste Management District, and Mike Atwood and Craig Campbell of the DNRC to sign the paperwork at Security Title Company in Bozeman.

As part of the deal, Gallatin County received 636.12 acres of land from the state, and the state is getting 620.13 acres of agricultural land from the county. State land appraised for $647,000 while the county’s land appraised for $708,000.

Included in the state land were 80 acres for permanent landfill easement and 8.81 acres of commercial lease for the landfill’s scale house facility. The county’s land was about half agricultural land and half grazing land.

As per the deal, Gallatin County paid a one-time annuity payment of $18,037.73 to the state.

The Montana Board of Land Commissioners gave final approval for the exchange in October.

The county’s land, which abutted the western edge of the Logan Landfill, was purchased in 2009 with plans to eventually buy the rest of the land. Gallatin County has been renting a portion of the landfill from the state.

Now, rather than leasing state land, this critical exchange will put the Logan Landfill on county-owned ground and provide for future growth of the county’s landfill for decades to come.

And importantly, the exchange will also improve access to public lands, creating a contiguous and publicly accessible block of four sections of state-owned land in Gallatin County.

At a public hearing late last month, the commissioners praised Chairman White for his work on this project over the years.

“This may be one of his crowning moments,” said Commissioner Joe Skinner.

Commissioner Don Seifert said the move “brings a lot of certainty to the whole county.”

“Thanks to you, commissioner, for sticking with it,” he said.

White thanked his partners at the DNRC, the Gallatin Solid Waste Management District and the Gallatin County Attorney’s Office.

“This is a big deal,” White said.

The total cost of project for Gallatin County, which includes purchasing and improving the land, was $1.8 million. It was paid for with landfill operation funds and not taxpayer dollars. White noted that tipping fees at Logan Landfill have not been raised in more than 12 years.

And it will be business as usual in Logan as the exchange will not impact day-to-day operations at the Landfill.

Media Contact: Commission Chair Steve White, 582-3000

Drinking Horse Rescue

(Gallatin County, Mont.) Saturday at 10:25 am, Sheriff’s Search and Rescue, Bridger Canyon Fire Department, and an American Medical Response ambulance responded to a backcountry rescue on the Drinking Horse Trail.  A 32 year-old-man was hiking with his wife and dog when he slipped off a steep, icy section of trail and fell about 30feet.  He suffered injuries to his head,including lacerations and losing consciousness. His wife called 911 for help. 

Rescuers hiked to the man, provided medical care including treatment for hypothermia.  Due to the steep, icy terrain, rescuers had to rig a rope to get the man back up to the trail.  He transported him to the trailhead on a specialized rescue litter where he was taken to the hospital by ambulance.

          Sheriff Gootkin would like to remind winter backcountry enthusiasts to always be prepared.  Even a short excursion can turn into a prolonged event when the unexpected happens.  Carry enough clothing and survival equipment,including a means of communication and fire building materials, to spend the night in the outdoors if you have to.  

Gallatin County Treatment Court honoring participants with Christmas celebration

Gallatin County Treatment Court will be holding its annual Christmas celebration on Friday, Dec. 14.

The celebration is to honor the participants’ commitment to changing their lives.

Treatment Court starts at 9 a.m. in Gallatin County District Court Judge John Brown’s courtroom at the Law and Justice Center, located at 615 S. 16th Ave. in Bozeman.

“Treatment Court Christmas is a very special event. It is an opportunity to celebrate the ongoing success of our participants, some of whom have not celebrated Christmas in years,” said Judge Brown.

“Prior to Treatment Court, their lives revolved around drugs, alcohol, and jail. But this year, with the support of the Treatment Court team, our participants are clean and sober. They are employed, and they have stable residences. And they are free to experience the joy of the holidays with their friends and family,” he said.

At the Christmas celebration, the 23 current participants will receive gifts and treats provided by Friends of Treatment Court, a group that gives financial support to the program, as well as the Alumni Club, who are past Treatment Court graduates.

“This is a great example of the support to Treatment Court by the community,” said Gallatin County Commissioner Steve White. “Over the years, I have seen how the participants appreciate the Christmas celebration.”

Gallatin County Treatment Court was the first adult treatment court in the state and is now one of 31 drug courts across Montana.

Started in 1999, Treatment Court is an 18-month voluntary program that is an alternative sentencing for adult offenders whose crimes were motivated by substance abuse.

Participants receive treatment for chemical dependency and mental health issues. Among a number of things, participants are required to attend addictions counseling, mental health therapy and support groups, as well as submit to frequent drug and alcohol testing, report weekly to a case manager and perform community service.

The five core values of Treatment Court are honesty, integrity, responsibility, sobriety and service.

Brown also voiced his appreciation to the Gallatin County Commission.

“I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the Gallatin County commissioners for their continued support of the Treatment Court,” he said. “Their emotional and financial support is greatly appreciated.”

The program is managed by a team that includes:

Judge John Brown, Gallatin County District Court
Steve Ette, Director of Court Services
Eric Kitzmiller, Chief Deputy with Gallatin County Attorney’s Office
Kirsten Mull-Core, Attorney
Dr. Jim Murphey, Psychologist
Vicki Deboer, Clinical Supervisor with Alcohol and Drug Services of Gallatin County
Erin Diehl, Probation and Parole Officer for Montana Department of Corrections
Gen Stasiak, Misdemeanor Probation supervisor for Gallatin County

Media Contact:
Steve Ette, Treatment Court coordinator