Archives for December 2017

Hanel Bids Farewell

Two-term Billings Mayor Tom Hanel and his wife, Robin, bid farewell and thank you to about 150 friends and family at the Northern Hotel on Thursday evening, and the half-dozen people or so chosen to speak thanked Hanel for his leadership and dedication. School District 2 Superintendent Terry Bouck recalled attending a Steve Miller Band concert with his wife and the Hanels. Bouck said everybody was coming up to shake hands and talk with Tom, saying “It took us 10 minutes to move 15 feet.” Retired city administrator Tina Volek divulged a few facts that many residents may not know about the mayor and his wife, including how they donate his mayoral salary of $9,600 each year to local charities, saying few people know just how much time Robin and Tom spend working for people. Read more at billingsgazette.com.

Accidents on I-90

Q2 reports that one man is a dead following a two-vehicle collision on Interstate 90 near the Lockwood exit on Thursday night. Montana Highway Patrol said a Ford pickup truck was merging onto the interstate shortly after 5 p.m. when it spun into the path of a semi truck and trailer. The semi struck the pickup which hit a guardrail, ejecting the driver, who died at the scene. The two people in the semi were not injured. Icy roads were reportedly a factor.

A Missoula County Sheriff’s Deputy was injured when his patrol car was hit as he was responding to a crash on I-90. Sgt. Schmill was on the shoulder of the highway when he was rear-ended by a car. He and the driver of the other car were taken to St. Patrick Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

Winter Storm Watch, Possible Warning for Billings

According to the National Weather Service in Billings, projected forecasts as of Wednesday night showed the possibility of more than 14 inches of snow from a weather system expected to settle over Billings beginning today. NWS meteorologist Julie Arthur said [quote] “Some people are saying a foot to a foot-and-a-half,” [end quote] Wednesday night’s snowfall was the result of a separate, smaller disturbance moving through the Billings area, Arthur said, but the approaching weather system, made up of Pacific moisture mixing with cold air from a Canadian cold front, is expected to produce most of its snow over central and southcentral Montana from tonight through Friday night. Forecasters said a winter storm watch remained scheduled to go into effect this afternoon for Yellowstone County and surrounding areas in the path of the storm. That could be upgraded to a warning.

MSC Reviewing Statute in Rape Case

Q2 reports that the Montana Supreme Court is reviewing whether charges against a man accused of raping a Billings girl in 1987 were filed outside the statute of limitations. The trial of 57-year-old Ronald Tipton was scheduled to begin in early December, but the case is on hold as the state’s high court weighs in. Tipton was charged in 2015 with three counts of sexual intercourse without consent for the rape of an 8-year-old girl. The girl reportedly said that the perpetrator threatened to kill her if she didn’t keep quiet. The victim subsequently told her parents and they reported the attack to police. Another man, Jimmy Rae Bromgard, was wrongly convicted of the crime in 1987, but he was ultimately exonerated in 2002 thanks to DNA evidence. Forensic analysts compared DNA samples in 2014 that matched Tipton.

Big Snowfall Totals Predicted

We could get a foot of snow by Saturday in Billings. Forecasters project a couple of inches of snow by this evening, but most of the accumulation is going to come tomorrow night, on Friday and Friday evening.

AT&T Phone Store Heist

The Gazette reports that two Billings residents broke into an AT&T store before dawn on Christmas Eve and tried to load stolen phones into a stolen Oldsmobile, according to charges filed on Tuesday. 20-year-old Dylan Patrick Curtin, and an unidentified 14-year-old male accomplice were caught by police at around 1 a.m. on Sunday after a woman driving by called police to report seeing a burglary in process at the phone store, located at 644 Broadwater Ave. The two alleged perpetrators were removing goods through a broken window, according to the as-yet-unidentified caller’s report. When police arrived, they reported seeing Curtin and the teenager loading a box into the Oldsmobile, which was parked in an alley near the phone store, according to the charges. The two ran and officers apprehended them, tackling both to the ground before arresting them.

Accused Pimp Faces Additional Charges

Q2 reports that the 35-year-old man accused of operating a prostitution ring involving minors is now facing additional charges related to promoting prostitution in Billings and Missoula. Terrance Edwards was arraigned Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Billings on a new 11-count indictment. He’s now charged with sex trafficking by force, transportation of a minor with intent to engage in prostitution, obstruction of a sex trafficking investigation, tampering with a witness, transportation of a person with intent to engage in sexual activity, and distribution of marijuana to an individual under the age of 21. The charges stem from crimes that took place from April of 2016 to March 2017. At least six victims, including three under the age of 18, are listed in the charges. Prosecutors allege Edwards operated sex trafficking operations in Montana, Utah and Washington state.

Accused Sex Trafficker Faces New Charges

A man already facing trial on charges of sex trafficking out of a Billings hotel is being slapped with additional charges this week. Terrence Edwards was busted in September of 2016 after police got a call for help from that hotel in Billings. Officers found a woman and several minors at that location,who were victims of sex trafficking. Now Edwards is facing a charge tied to similar case in Missoula. He was arraigned on the new charge today, and will go on trial January 29th at the Federal Courthouse in Billings.

Blood Drips Through Ceiling Of Downstairs Apartment

A grisly story out of Great Falls , where a person called 911 to report that blood was dripping into his downstairs apartment from the floor above him. Police rushed over to the 9-hundred block of 5th Avenue about 3 in the afternoon on Christmas Day. They had to break down the door to get into the upstairs apartment,and inside, they found a body. Neighbors told police the resident of the apartment recently told them that he didn’t feel safe in his own home.

Light Snow And Bitter Cold For The Holiday

Christmas day brought bitter cold and very light snow to Billings. The National Weather Service reports we got four tenths of an inch of snow. The temperature was about 30 degrees below normal. Usually we average 35 degrees in Billings on Christmas Day. However, as bone chilling as the cold was , we didn’t even come close to setting the record. That’s because back in 1983, the low temperature on Christmas Day in Billings was 21 degrees below zero. The forecasters say the bitter cold is expected to continue all week.