Two injured in snowmobile crash near West Yellowstone

(Gallatin County, Mont) Tuesday, December 31, at 10:51 a.m. West Yellowstone Police Department Dispatch received a 911 call reporting that two snowmobilers were injured in a snowmobile crash. The group indicated that they were on the South Plateau trail, approximately 6 miles south of West Yellowstone. The injured snowmobilers, a 12-year-old girl and a 48-year-old woman from Glendale, California, both sustained back, leg, and head injuries when the snowmobile they were riding left the trail and hit a group of trees near the trail. The 12-year-old reportedly lost consciousness briefly and appeared disoriented.

Rescuers from Gallatin County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue in West Yellowstone, Hebgen Basin Rural Fire District, and Custer Gallatin National Forest Service responded to assist with the rescue. They located the snowmobilers, quickly packaged both patients into specialized rescue sleds, and transported them to a waiting ambulance. The ambulance then transported both patients to Big Sky Medical Center for evaluation.

Photo courtesy of the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office

Snowmobile vs Tree Near West Yellowstone

(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 12:07 p.m. on Friday, December 27, a 56-year-old Utah woman who was snowmobiling on the South Plateau Trail system, about 12 miles southwest of West Yellowstone, crashed her snowmobile into a tree and sustained back and abdominal injuries. A member of her group traveled a few miles north on the trail to get cell phone service and called 911, then waited to lead the rescue team to the injured woman.

Emergency responders reached the scene on snowmobiles with a specialized snow ambulance. The woman was placed on a backboard, loaded into the snow ambulance, and transported off the trail system to a waiting ambulance from the Hebgen Basin Fire Department in West Yellowstone. She was then transported to Madison Memorial Hospital in Rexburg.

Photo courtesy of Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office

Snowmobile Injury near West Yellowstone

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

At 1:24 p.m. on December 25, a 13-year-old Montana girl who was snowmobiling on the Two Top Trail system, about three miles west of West Yellowstone, crashed her snowmobile into a tree and sustained a shoulder and back injury.

Search and Rescue responders met her at the scene of the incident on snowmobiles with a specialized snow ambulance. The girl was placed on a backboard and loaded into the snow ambulance, then transported to an awaiting ambulance from the Hebgen Basin Fire Department.

Photo courtesy of Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office.

Injured Skier Rescued Near West Yellowstone

(Gallatin County, Mont.) Rescuers with Gallatin County Search & Rescue in West Yellowstone assisted a skier who was injured in an incident near West Yellowstone yesterday.

At 3:15 p.m. on Saturday December 21, 2109, a 50-year-old Idaho women fell and sustained a shoulder injury while cross-country skiing on the Rendezvous Ski trail, about two miles south of West Yellowstone. Volunteers from Gallatin County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue were able to quickly respond to the woman’s exact location because she had a charged cell phone and was able to call 911, providing an accurate location for the rescue personnel.

Emergency responders met her near the scene of the incident on snowmobiles and a tracked ATV. She appeared to have a broken collar bone. The woman was loaded onto the ATV and transported off the trail system to a waiting ambulance from the Hebgen Basin Fire Department.

Gallatin County Treatment Court honoring participants at annual Christmas celebration

Gallatin County Treatment Court will be holding its annual Christmas celebration on Friday, Dec. 20.

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 18 current participants will receive gifts and treats provided by Belgrade Veterans of Foreign Wars, Post 12112,  Friends of Treatment Court (a group that gives financial support to the program), as well as other citizens of Gallatin County.

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
Jared Poole, Probation and Parole Officer for Montana Department of Corrections
Kelley Parker-Wathne, Treatment Court Coordinator

Media Contact:
Steve Ette, Director of Court Services

Holiday Law Enforcement Message




Increased Law Enforcement on Patrol During the Holiday Season
Celebrate Safely – Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over
Gallatin County, Dec. 04, 2019 – The holiday season should be filled with family and friends, not fines and fatalities. All of the law enforcement agencies in Gallatin County, along with the Montana Department of Transportation, encourages everyone to drive sober or find a sober ride.
Increased patrols in Gallatin County will begin during the weeks leading up to Christmas and lasting through the new year holiday to keep Montana’s roads free of impaired drivers. In Gallatin County we take a team approach to providing safety for the public we serve. We work together on special events, saturation patrols and education.
Your Gallatin County law enforcement leaders want you to know that “Driving while drunk is deadly and can have serious consequences for everyone involved.” “We in law enforcement are committed to keeping Montanans safe, and that means we have a zero-tolerance policy for drunk driving. It’s simple — don’t drink and drive ever.”
Approximately one-third of all traffic crash fatalities in the U.S. involve drunk drivers1 and Montana’s numbers are not good compared with other states. Montana has one of the highest rates in the nation for alcohol-impaired driving crashes in 2018, with over 40% of the traffic fatalities attributed to alcohol-impaired driving.

Consequences of drunk driving include a DUI on your record, a revoked driver’s license, mandatory classes, possible jail time, probation, and up to $10,000 in fines.
Download NHTSA’s SaferRide mobile app, Uber, or Lyft prior to leaving home so you are prepared. Designate a sober driver. Ask someone to call you a ride. If you drive impaired, you will be pulled over.

Report suspected impaired drivers by dialing 911, and always wear your seat belt, as it continues to be the best defense against impaired drivers.

Have a safe and memorable Holiday Season.

Chief Steve Crawford – Bozeman Police Dept.
Chief Dennis Hengel – Manhattan Police Dept.
Chief E. J. Clark Jr. – Belgrade Police Dept.
Chief Frank Parrish – Montana State University Police Dept.
Sheriff Brian Gootkin – Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office
Chief Scott Newell – West Yellowstone Police Dept.
Chief Bill Dove – Bozeman – Yellowstone Airport Police Dept.
Captain Mark Wilfore – Montana Highway Patrol

This is a Vision Zero message from the Montana Department of Transportation. This and other enforcement and educational campaigns are strategies to reach Vision Zero – zero deaths and zero serious injuries on Montana roadways. For more information about Vision Zero, contact Janet Kenny, Montana Department of Transportation, 406-444-7417             or

Emergency Beacon False Alarm

(Gallatin County, Mont) On December 4, 2019 at 10:52 a.m., Gallatin County Dispatch received a notification that an emergency beacon had been activated in the Hyalite area. GPS coordinates showed the beacon to be in the area of a popular ice climbing destination called The Fat One. The beacon was registered to an experienced mountaineer, a 52-year-old woman from the Seattle area. Family members were contacted and were able to provide information on where the woman was climbing, what routes she was planning on taking, who she was climbing with, and the vehicle they drove to the trailhead.

Gallatin County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue responded to the call. Because the call occurred in the backcountry and the condition of the woman was unknown, ski teams and helicopters were deployed in an effort to quickly locate the woman and her climbing partner, a 69-year-old man. SAR members located the woman’s vehicle at the Grotto Falls trailhead.

At 1:10 p.m., the climber and her partner were located. Both parties were in good health and spirits. The climber said that the SOS button on the beacon had accidentally been pushed. She didn’t notice emergency confirmation messages to her beacon until well after SAR had been deployed and pushed the cancellation button shortly before the parties were located.

The Sheriff’s Office would like to encourage everyone to take steps prior to going into the backcountry that will help us locate you in case of emergency. In this case, the subjects had notified family members of exactly where they would be, what they were driving, who was in their party, and the experience level of party members. Providing this information to someone is a huge help if we need to come looking for you in an emergency situation.

Photo courtesy of Gallatin County Sheriff’s OfficeHelicopter in parking lot

Overdue Hunter Found

(Gallatin County, Mont.) On November 30, 2019 at 3:45 pm, Gallatin County Dispatch received a call for an overdue hunter. The hunter, a 47-year-old local man, had planned on meeting up with another hunter but didn’t show up. Attempts to contact the hunter by phone were unsuccessful. Based on the falling temperatures and the rugged terrain, Gallatin County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue was called out to conduct a search for the hunter. When deputies arrived on scene, the reporting party had left her truck to look for the overdue hunter. SAR volunteers, including a search dog, quickly located the reporting party and brought her back to the truck.

The search was in the area of Headwaters State Park and the Trident cement plant, along the train tracks. Just before 7 pm, Montana Rail Link notified dispatch that a train engineer had spotted a man near the tracks at the bottom of the Clarkston Hill. Deputies responded and located the overdue hunter. The man was in good spirits and was given a ride to his residence to meet with the reporting party.

When you are in the backcountry, be prepared to stay out overnight should the conditions worsen. If you report a missing person, please stay with your vehicle until we arrive so we don’t have to search for multiple people.