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Close call for Bozeman family after truck rams into home

“We’re very grateful that no one was seriously injured or killed in this incident..."
Posted at 5:16 PM, Jan 14, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-16 11:37:59-05

BOZEMAN — It was a scary close-call for a Bozeman family on Tuesday evening.

Police say a man driving under the influence smashed his truck into and through their home.

house wreck.jpg
According to Bozeman Police, John Russo was behind the wheel of the truck that came over the curve and, following the tire tracks, directly into the front door of their home.

According to Bozeman Police, John Russo was behind the wheel of the truck that came over the curve and following the tire tracks, directly into the front door of their home.

John Russo
John Russo

According to Bozeman Interim Police Chief Jim Velktamp, fire crews and police had to evacuate the family of three due to structural damage.

The family had been sitting just inside when it happened.

“Everyone is very fortunate in this situation that it didn’t go worse,” Veltkamp says.

The situation: a Chevy pickup truck drove off of the road and smashed through a front-yard tree on Tuesday shortly after 5:30 pm.

In the end, the truck drove all the way into a house.

“We frequently, unfortunately, have incidents where a vehicle hits a house but it is very rare that it drives into the house and, in this case, completely inside of the house,” Veltkamp says.

Officers say Russo’s truck drove straight through a T-intersection on Ravalli Street, over the tree, which landed on the roof of the home, then straight into the home, exposing electrical wires and breaking flowing water lines.

A piece of drywall also hit a young boy’s head and the truck’s tires came to rest in the family bathtub.

Velktamp adds while he’s seen home crashes before, this is new.

“We often expect these types of incidents in the middle of the night,” Veltkamp says. “The sad reality is it can happen any time of day or night in any part of town, even in a residential neighborhood.”

MTN’s Cody Boyer spoke with several neighbors, who didn’t want to be on camera, who said they felt the crash more than they saw it; one, saying it shook their own home.

According to court documents, while he had no prior traffic violations, police found receipts in Russo’s pocket, one which linked him to a bar about 30 minutes before the crash.

Upon investigation, Russo blew a .245 BAC.

Velktamp says it’s a situation that, while no one was seriously hurt, could have been avoided.

“We’re very grateful that no one was seriously injured or killed in this incident,” Veltkamp says.

In court Wednesday morning, Russo’s bail was set at $15,000.

He faces up to $50,000 in fines and up to 10 years in prison for each of three counts of criminal endangerment.

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