Texas Man Injured in Snowmobile Crash

(Gallatin County, Mont.)  On Wednesday February 6, 2019 at 8:58 am, West Yellowstone Police Department Dispatch received a 911 call reporting a snowmobile crash on the Two Top Trail approximately 2 miles west of West Yellowstone. The injured party, a 40-year-old man from Texas, had sustained a broken leg when the snowmobile he was riding on left the trail and crashed into a tree.

Rescuers from the Sheriff’s Search and Rescue in West Yellowstone, Hebgen Basin Fire Department, and Forest Service Law Enforcement met the injured party at the scene of the crash forty minutes after the initial call for help.  The man was conscious but had a broken leg. He was placed in a specialized rescue sled and transported to a nearby location to meet an ambulance crew.  The ambulance then transported the patient to the Big Sky Medical Center.

Gallatin County Sheriff Brian Gootkin would like to remind snowmobilers to be careful when riding 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.

Two Rescues for West Yellowstone

(Gallatin County, Mont.) Gallatin County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue in West Yellowstone was busy today, with a pair of rescues two hours apart.

At 9:35 am, West Yellowstone Police Department Dispatch received a 911 call reporting a snowmobile accident on the Two Top Trail near junction 15, approximately 8 miles southwest of West Yellowstone. The injured party, a 28-year-old man from Massachusetts, had been traveling on a groomed snowmobile trail when he crossed a rough patch on the trail, causing him to fall off his snowmobile and catch his foot in the front foot well of the running board, injuring his ankle. Rescuers from the Sheriff’s Search and Rescue in West Yellowstone and Hebgen Basin Rural Fire District met the man at the scene of the accident half an hour after the initial call for help.

At 11:07 am, West Yellowstone Police Department Dispatch received a 911 call reporting another snowmobile accident on the Two Top Trail, near junction 17. The injured party, a 72-year-old woman from Alabama, had sustained a broken arm when the snowmobile she was riding as a passenger hit a rut in the groomed trail and launched her off of the sled. Rescuers met the woman at the scene of the crash half an hour after the initial call for help.

Both patients were transported in a specialized rescue sled to waiting ambulances, which took them to Big Sky Medical Center for further evaluation and treatment.

Gallatin County Sheriff Brian Gootkin would like to remind snowmobilers to be careful in the backcountry, even 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.

Photos courtesy of the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office

Snowmobiler Rescued up Olsen Creek

(Gallatin County, MT) At 7:15 pm on January 24th, the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue responded to Olsen Creek, off Bridger Canyon Road, for a missing snowmobiler. The reporting party said that he and a friend had been riding up Olsen Creek Rd. when his friend decided to drop into a ravine off the edge of the road. He said his friend seemed to be having trouble getting back up to the road. Eventually the reporting party could no longer hear his friend’s snowmobile and since it was getting dark, decided to ride out and call for help.

Gallatin County Search and Rescue members from the Posse and Alpine teams responded to the area with snowmobiles and skis. They met with the reporting party, who escorted them to the location where his riding partner had dropped into the ravine, 6.5 miles up Olsen Creek near the Canyon Creek drainage. Skiers were able to follow the snowmobile track to the stranded rider, who was uninjured and in good spirits. He had started a campfire and was prepared to spend the night.

The stranded rider was assisted out of the ravine by the team and all parties made it safely back to Bridger Canyon Rd around midnight.

Photos courtesy of Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office.

Two Snowmobilers Rescued near West Yellowstone

Sunday at approximately 2:51 p.m., West Yellowstone Police Department Dispatch received a call from a local snowmobile rental company reporting a snowmobiler who was stuck in a deep narrow canyon somewhere west of West Yellowstone. A Gallatin County Sheriff’s deputy was able to make contact with the stuck snowmobiler, a 20-year-old man from Minnesota, and request that he call 911 to get accurate coordinates of his location. The snowmobiler indicated that he had tried for several hours to escape the narrow canyon but the slope began to slide as he attempted to climb it.

Rescuers from the Sheriff’s Search and Rescue in West Yellowstone, Yellowstone National Park, and the Forest Service responded to assist with the rescue. By 8:30 p.m., rescuers made it to within ½ mile of the snowmobiler’s location but were forced to turn back due to darkness combined with the extremely difficult terrain and snow conditions. The stranded snowmobiler had a fire, food, water and cold weather gear so the decision was made to send another team in the morning.

Monday at 9:55 a.m. rescuers again made contact with the snowmobiler, who was in good health and uninjured. The deep unstable snow conditions and fresh snow made it extremely difficult for the rescuers to reach the stranded snowmobiler but they were successful and the stranded snowmobiler was safely escorted back to West Yellowstone.

Meanwhile, at 10:04 a.m., West Yellowstone Police Department Dispatch received a call about a snowmobile crash that had just occurred on the West Entrance Road approximately 1 mile west of town. The snowmobiler, a 24-year-old man from California, had sustained a leg injury due to being pinned against a tree by snowmobile he was riding.

Rescuers from the Sheriff’s Search and Rescue in West Yellowstone, Hebgen Basin Fire Department, and the U.S. Forest Service responded. Rescuers located the injured snowmobiler and quickly loaded him onto a rescue sled before transporting him to a waiting Hebgen Basin Fire Department ambulance. The ambulance then transported the man to the Big Sky Medical Center for evaluation.

Gallatin County Sheriff Brian Gootkin would like to remind snowmobilers that it is critical to prepare for an unexpected stay outdoors by carrying the proper survival gear, a reliable communication device, and a means to start a fire. Because the Minnesota man had those things, he could spend the night safely. Sometimes nature prevents even SAR from getting where it needs to go, so be prepared to wait.

Photo courtesy of the Gallatin County 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

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.

Media Alert: Mass Casualty Drill Tonight

Starting at 7:00 this evening, Fort Ellis Fire, Bozeman Fire, Hyalite Fire, AMR, Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office, Sheriff’s Search and Rescue, and Mount Ellis Academy will be running a live training drill on mass casualty events. The training scenario involves a bus carrying students on Bozeman Trail Road east of the Bear Canyon exit. Training includes extricating students and transporting them to the hospital, where Bozeman Health will train on handling a sudden large influx of patients. First responders will be using regular radio channels so anyone listening to a scanner may hear something about the scenario and mistake it for a real event.
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Contact: Deborah McAtee, 406-600-3476

Human Trafficking Operation

On August 29 , 2018, the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office, Bozeman Police Department and Homeland Security Investigations conducted a joint operation targeting Human Trafficking in Gallatin County.  The operation focused on the targeting of demand for illicit sexual contact.  Advertisements were posted on websites frequented for the purpose of facilitating sexual contacts.

During this operation, the advertisement received over 50 inquiries for various sexual acts.  On the day of the operation, numerous “dates” were scheduled. Customers, commonly referred to as “johns”, arrived at the agreed-upon location and met with an undercover law enforcement officer who posed as the trafficking victim.  Each suspect was taken into custody and booked into the Gallatin County Detention Center for the crime of prostitution.

The following individuals were booked into the Gallatin County Detention Center for prostitution:

  • Calvin F. Bender of Gallatin County
  •  Cody M. Umland of Gallatin County
  • Mark A. Steed of Gallatin County
  • Matthew J. Maus of Gallatin County
  • Shannon J. Rodman of Gallatin County
  • Travis M. Staker of Gallatin County
  • John C. Sanders of Lewis and Clark County

Gallatin County law enforcement will continue to focus their efforts to thwart trafficking throughout the county and state through joint investigative operations.  These operations focus on both the demand for such services and the human traffickers exploiting young men and women. Law enforcement can provide education to the public to help identify possible trafficking victims as well as prevention efforts with at-risk populations of younger men and women.

If you have information regarding trafficking operations or victims of human trafficking, you are encouraged to call the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office Detective Division at 406-582-2121, the Bozeman Police Department at Policetips@bozeman.net, or the Department of Homeland Security at 1-866-373-7888.  You may be eligible for a reward through Crime Stoppers for information that leads to the successful prosecution of criminal acts.

James Anderson Recovered

Yesterday, on August 19, 2018 at around noon, we received a tip from a fisherman. Members of the Park and Gallatin County Sheriff’s Offices immediately responded to the scene and recovered the body of James Anderson from the Yellowstone River near Springdale.

We are thankful to be able to return James to his family. When such an unimaginable tragedy occurs, it reminds us of what really matters: family and friends. We have many thanks to share in the days to come but we are truly blessed to live in a place where people genuinely care about each other, even when strangers. Thank you all for the overwhelming support!

Sheriff Scott Hamilton, PCSO

Sheriff Brian Gootkin, GCSO

Photo Courtesy of Park County Sheriff’s Office