Belgrade Shooting

(Belgrade, Mont.) At 9:00 A.M. Belgrade Police were dispatched to the 1300 block of Idaho Street for a reported shooting.  Police and Fire units found one person deceased and one person injured both from apparent gun shot wounds.  The injured was transported to the hospital.   During the investigation a suspect was identified and is currently in custody.  Police know of no other suspects or threats to the community at this time.  Chief EJ Clark stated, “As we all know these are difficult cases and take a great deal of time and effort to investigate correctly.  Please avoid the area of Idaho Street and allow the Officers to do their work.”  No names are being released at this time until family can be notified.  #####


Snowmobilers Rescued from Lions Head

(Gallatin County, Mont.)  On Saturday January 6, 2018 at 7:16 pm., the West Yellowstone Police Department Dispatch center received a 911 call reporting two lost and stuck snowmobilers. A 47 year old male from North Carolina reported that he and another male snowmobiler from Utah were stuck and lost somewhere in the Lionhead area, approximately 15 miles west of the Town of West Yellowstone. Their 911 call provided rescuers with an accurate GPS location.
Personnel from Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue, West Yellowstone Secton responded. A group of eight rescue personnel responded on snowmobiles to the GPS location provided.
Rescuers found the men approximately 1 hour after the initial call. The snowmobilers were in good condition, but low visibility from fog and snow prevented them from finding one of the stuck snowmobiles. Rescuers loaded up one of the victims, doubled him up on a rescue sled and everyone was able to ride out.
Gallatin County Sheriff Brian Gootkin would like to remind snowmobilers to be careful when recreating off trail and to know your limitations. A fun adventure into the amazing backcountry areas we have access to can quickly turn into an emergency situation.  Always remember to ride with a partner, stay with your partner, carry a reliable means of communication in case of an emergency, and be prepared to survive the night if you should have to. #####


Avalanche Fatality near Cabin Creek

(Gallatin County, Mont.) On January 2, 2018 at 4:49 p.m. Gallatin County dispatch received a report of an avalanche with a person injured. The initial location was reported as Cabin Creek Campground however, GPS coordinates indicated the location was in Cabin Creek approximately 19 miles north of West Yellowstone.

Rescuers from the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office, the West Yellowstone Division of Gallatin County Search and Rescue and Air Methods responded.

The sheriff’s search commander immediately dispatched a helicopter from Air Idaho to positively locate and assess the possibility of landing and rendering medical aid. Individuals on scene were instructed to find and improve any possible landing zone for the helicopter. The Air Idaho helicopter was on the scene in 32 minutes but revival efforts were unsuccessful.

The injured snowmobiler, 40-year-old Weylon W Wiedemann, from Pine City Minnesota was pronounced dead at the scene. The Sheriff’s Coroner with help from the Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Center will conduct the investigation Wednesday.

Dangerous Crashes

(Gallatin County, Mont) A Gallatin County Sheriff’s vehicle was totaled after a tractor-trailer crashed into it Saturday morning. Deputy Randy Schott had responded to an accident on the Bozeman Pass, on Interstate 90, and was parked behind it to protect the scene. A driver who was involved in the accident was sitting in the deputy’s car when a semi truck slammed into the back of it. No one was injured but the vehicle was totaled.

The job of law enforcement officers is often to put themselves between the public and danger. This is the second Sheriff’s Office car totaled in December trying to protect crash scenes on the interstate. Winter driving conditions increase the dangers to anyone stuck on the side of the road, so always slow down and give them plenty of room. Slow down, move over look for directions on which lane to be in. When in doubt “pull to the right for sirens and lights.”

Photos courtesy of the Sheriff’s Office.

New Years Snowmobile Rescues

(West Yellowstone, Mont.)  Last Night at 5:26 p.m. West Yellowstone Police Department dispatch received a 911 call from an individual reporting that he and five of his friends had gotten their snowmobiles stuck in a deep gully and were unable to get them out. GPS coordinates retrieved from the 911 call indicated that the snowmobilers were somewhere in Cabin Creek, 19 miles north of West Yellowstone. Due to the difficult riding conditions, expected below-zero temperatures, and 2-3’ of new snow in the area, the six snowmobilers from Bottineau, North Dakota were concerned about being able to make it out to the trailhead and requested assistance.

Seven Rescuers from Gallatin County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue, West Yellowstone Division, Two Bear Air, and Air Methods medical helicopters were all used to locate the men.

Rescuers proceeded into Cabin Creek in deep snow and located two abandoned snowmobiles. The Rescuers, all world-class riders, found that a trip that can usually be done in an hour took over four hours and they had difficulty accessing the North Dakotans.  Just before the Two Bear and Air Methods helicopters arrived, Rescuers observed three snowmobiles leaving the area to the north.  A Gallatin County Sheriff’s Deputy intercepted all six snowmobilers near Big Sky.  They had been able to free three of their snowmobiles, extract themselves from the gully, and ride out 15 miles to the trailhead.

At about the same time, two other snowmobilers were reported overdue after going into the Two Top area west of West Yellowstone. Search and Rescue Deputies were able to retrieve the two out-of-state visitors without the use of rescue volunteers.

Gallatin County Sheriff Brian Gootkin would like to remind snowmobilers to make sure they are prepared for dangerous situations when enjoying Montana’s winter backcountry. He commends the North Dakota group for not giving up and finding a way out but cautioned, “Sometimes, when help is on the way, it may be best to build a fire and hunker down. Conditions were very bad last night.”  He said conditions in the mountains right now are very difficult for snowmobiling and the avalanche danger is considerable. He advises riders to have enough equipment to survive a night out in harsh conditions if the need arises.

Sheriff Gootkin would also like to extend a special thanks to all the volunteers who gave up time with family celebrating the New Year to brave the cold in search of the snowmobilers.



New Years Eve Arrests

(Gallatin County, Mont.) New Year’s Eve was a busy night at the Detention Center. From 6 pm on Dec 31 to 6 am on January 1, local law enforcement officers made 14 arrests – more than one an hour on a normally-quiet Sunday night. The tally included 4 DUIs and 3 aggravated DUIs, 1 possession of drugs, and 1 criminal mischief. Thanks to everyone who arranged for a designated driver and otherwise played it smart! #####