Officials: Crash investigation will be meticulous


HELENA, Mont. - Montana Highway Patrol officials say they will conduct a meticulous investigation to determine the cause of a collision that killed six people east of Helena last week. Six troopers are investigating Thursday's crash between a pickup truck carrying a family of five and a fire engine driven by Three Forks Fire Chief Todd Rummel. A Montana Department of Justice statement Tuesday says the investigators are examining aerial photographs and plan to reconstruct the positions of the vehicles when they collided. Capt. Gary Becker says investigators will exhaust every possible angle to determine what happened and the patrol will provide weekly updates on their progress. A funeral service for Rummel is Wednesday in Three Forks. Funerals for Matthew Boegli, Crystal Ross and their three young children are scheduled for Thursday in Helena. The following is a news release from the Montana Department of Justice.

The investigation into the cause of the June 19 fatal crash on Highway 12 five miles east of East Helena is ongoing. The Montana Highway Patrol is currently investigating the cause of the crash. The investigation will involve reviewing all evidence from the crash scene, contacting witnesses to obtain statements, and reconstructing the crash. The Patrol has assigned a team of six Troopers to work this investigation.

On Monday, June 23, the Patrol began reviewing evidence gathered at the crash scene and began examining both vehicles to document their current condition. Utilizing a Helena Fire Department ladder truck, the Patrol took aerial photographs of both vehicles and the scene. As part of its investigation, the Patrol will be placing both vehicles together to reconstruct where they made contact with each other.

Captain Gary Becker, the Patrol's District 3 commander who's leading the investigation, urged patience as the process continues. "This was an absolute tragedy, and one of the worst incidents the Patrol has encountered in a long time," Becker said. "Our investigation will be meticulous. Six people are dead, and we will exhaust every possible angle as we attempt to determine what happened and why."

As the crash investigation continues, the Patrol will provide a weekly update to press every Monday afternoon through the Department of Justice's communications office. Other updates may be provided as necessary.