Woman dies in crash on Hwy 191 in Gallatin Co.


BOZEMAN, Mont. - A 36-year-old Bozeman area mom is dead after her S.U.V. collides with a commercial crane.

The crash happened near Gallatin Gateway at the intersection of U.S. 191 and Wheeler Mountain Way.

The Montana Highway Patrol says it appears Bhu Sullivan, the woman driving the S.U.V., pulled out in front of the crane.

NBC Montana was on scene all morning, and spoke nearby workers who rushed to help when they heard the crash.

Hilton Hern of Montana Rustic Lumber was headed out of his business' driveway when he heard the crash just yards away.

"It was a bad scene. It was a bad scene," Hern repeated. "The car was pretty well destroyed."

Hern tells us he and others saw the victim in the car, and a young girl crying in the backseat. They were trying to use a crowbar when police took over.

"They grabbed the crowbar and yanked the door open and got the child out immediately," said Hern.

Montana Highway Patrol tells us it was around 9:30 Thursday morning when eyewitnesses saw a small S.U.V. pull in front of a commercial crane truck from the driveway access road behind me.

Trooper Jeff Sargent with the Montana Highway Patrol is lead investigator of the crash.

"The two vehicles collided resulting in one fatality," explained Sargent.

Sargent says the victim, 36-year old Bhu Sullivan died at the scene, but her five-year-old daughter escaped with only minor injuires.

"She was transported to the hospital," said Sargent. "She was still in a car seat when they took her."

The driver of the crane walked away from the crash.

The speed limit on the stretch of Gallatin Road is 55 miles per hour. M.H.P. says speed was not a factor.

M.H.P. is trying to determine what may have caused Sullivan to pull out in front of the crane. "At this time it's still under investigation," Sargent told us.

Hilton Hern called the crash heartbreaking, but also called Gallatin Road dangerous, where drivers have to stay alert.

"Always take that second look," urged Hern. "Because things like this can just happen in a heartbeat."

The crane belonged to the Montana Crane Service.

According to their website they serve Southwest Montana, including Bozeman and Helena.

NBC Montana contacted their office Thursday. They declined to comment.