Blog Cabin

Entries in Montana Highway Patrol (42)


Speed, alcohol lead to Mission Valley traffic death

(PABLO)- Montana Highway Patrol troopers are now saying speed and alcohol were factors in the accident which killed a Washington State man in the Mission Valley over the weekend. 

The victim's name hasn't been released, but he's been identified as a 47-year old man from Kent, Washington who was riding in a car that crashed on a secondary road outside Pablo Saturday night. Troopers say the driver lost control and the car rolled over, with the victim partially thrown from the wreckage. 

KPAX TV reports the 70-year old driver was also hurt. 


Cross state chase ends with shootout in Missoula Co

MCSO photo (ROCK CREEK)- A Broadeater County deputy was shot and killed, and a suspect is being treated after being shot and wounded after a cross state pursuit ends in gun fire east of Missoula.

The Missoula County Sheriff's Office reports the chase started in Three Forks where two suspects got into a shootout with law enforcement early Tuesday resuilting in the death of the deputy. 

The pair fled west on I-90, as a BOLO alert was issued statewide for the suspects. The pursuit started when MHP troopers spotted the suspects near Anaconda. Officers used a spike strip at Mile Marker 162 in Powell County, but the pair were able to keep driving for another thirty miles, as the suspects fired at officers. 

The car eventually stopped east of Rock Creek, where the passenger jumped out of the car and shot at officers before he was struck by a bullet. He was taken to the hospital and the driver was taken into custody. 

Westbound lanes of I-90 remained closed between Beavertail and Rock Creek while the investigation is underway. 


One killed in I-15 crash

KRTV photo(VAUGHN)- The Montana Highway Patrol says one person was killed Saturday night when two vehicles collided on Interstate 15 near Vaughn, with one car catching fire.

KRTV reports the wreck happened around 7:25 p.m. near mile marker 288. 

Troopers were still investigating, but say a Ford truck and a Subaru collided head-on, with one vehicle rolling and one catching fire. It wasn't immediately known which vehicle had burned. The collision happened in the northbound lanes of the freeway. 

There was no initial indication as to whether slick roads may have been a factor. 


Suit charges MHP with illegally stopping immigrants

(BUTTE)- A human rights group is accusing the Montana Highway Patrol of illegally checking the immigration status of Hispanic drivers who are pulled over for routine traffic violations. 

The civil suit was filed Monday against Montana Highway Patrol Chief Tom Butler and Attorney General Tim Fox on behalf of several individuals by the Montana Immigrant Justice Alliance in U.S. District Court. 

The 49-page suit accuses the state of implementing "a custom, policy and practice of seizing Latino residents and visitors of Montana and prolonging their detention longer than necessary" to check their immigration status. The Alliance says that violates both the drivers and their passengers rights under the U.S. Constitution and the Civil Rights Act.

The suit complains MHP has been "seizing" immigrants on their own "prerogative" before actually contacting the agencies under the Department of Homeland Security. The Alliance maintains MHP has no legal authority to hold people for violating federal immigration law, with troopers basing their suspicion on race. The suit argues MHP doesn't detain white, non-Latinos to check for immigration status. 

The Alliance says the stops have been "occurring with great frequency for at least three years."

The suit also raises the issue of former MHP Chief Administrator Kenton Hickethier, who left the force last summer amid complaints he had ordered officers to arrest illegal aliens. 

The state offered no immediate comment on the suit and has 21-days to file its reply. 


New head named for Montana State Patrol

(HELENA)- A 21-year veteran trooper has been named as the new head of the Montana Highway Patrol. 

Attorney General Tim Fox announced today he'd appointed Tom Butler to the post with a promotion to colonel. Butler is an MSU graduate and a native of Clancy.

“Since taking office nine months ago, I’ve seen clearly that Tom Butler is a proven leader and administrator,” Attorney General Tim Fox said. “He tackles challenges head-on and gets the job done. He is the right person to take the helm of Montana’s premier law enforcement agency.”

Butler has worked with MHP since 1992. 

He replaces Col. Kenton Hickethier, who resigned at the end of August amid controversy, saying he had made "inappropriate remarks" to some of the people working under him at MHP.