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Billings couple distraught after beloved trees destroyed

The Garritson's
Posted at 4:56 PM, Feb 06, 2024

BILLINGS - A Billings couple is distraught after waking up and finding more than seven trees in their front yard destroyed after a car nearly crashed into their home.

The trees were planted by the couple when they moved into the home on Wicks Lane nearly 40 years ago. Homeowner Bob Garritson said the foliage served a couple of purposes.

"They were kind of like my babies," Bob said. "It was a project I had started when we bought the house. I like planting trees, and of course, it was a sound buffer. It cut a lot of the noise down."

But a couple of weeks ago, Bob and his wife Barb woke up to the sound of a vehicle stuck in their yard. By the time they got outside, the vehicle was gone.

"I got up, looked out the window and there was an aspen tree lying across my yard," Bob said. "I got to looking around and all the trees were gone."

The shocking site was proof that the Garritsons' lifelong project had been destroyed.

"When we bought this property, it only had a few trees and now it has hundreds," Barb said. "When I come out of the house and start to drive away, I see that bare spot and it always reminds me."

Not only did the Garritsons lose nearly all of the trees in their front yard, but the driver sped away without confessing. Since the accident, the Garritsons are still picking up remnants from the vehicle.

"It just hurt that somebody was such a coward that they'd do that and run," Bob said. "That's a pretty chicken thing to do."

The Garritsons did notify Billings police of the incident, but so far, the driver hasn't been found. All of the trees have now been drug to the Garritsons' backyard and piled up, which Bob said is a difficult site to see.

"It is tough," Bob said. "It was something you worked hard at and you kind of looked forward to seeing them every morning."

But the couple is also thankful. The car ended up about 15 feet from their living room.

"It could've been way worse and we're really lucky that it wasn't," Barb said.

And Bob said he's already making plans to start planting more trees in the spring.

"I may not live long enough to see them get back to what they were, but I just plant them and hope for the best," Bob said.