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MHP speaks with vehicle makers in crash investigation

By Colin Cashin, KTVM Reporter, ccashin@ktvm.com
Published On: Jul 07 2014 06:24:31 PM MDT
Updated On: Jul 07 2014 06:55:00 PM MDT
HELENA, Mont. -

The Montana Department of Justice says investigators have met with the makers of the two vehicles involved in a June crash that killed six people, including Three Forks Fire Chief Todd Rummel.

The crash happened just east of Helena on U.S. Highway 12.

Around 9 p.m. on the night of June 19, Three Forks Fire Chief Todd Rummel was returning from Helena in an fire engine that had just undergone maintenance. He was headed east and a family of five was traveling west, when the two vehicles collided.

The vehicles burst into flames, killing Rummel and the Boegli family -- Crystal Ross, Matthew Boegli, their 4-year-old son and 3-year-old twins.

The Montana Highway Patrol assigned a team of six troopers to find out what happened, promising a thorough and complete investigation. Now, nearly three weeks later, investigators are still trying to piece together exactly what happened the night of the accident.

NBC Montana met with MHP Deputy Chief Greg Watson, who tells us the crash scene is currently in the process of being reconstructed.

At a weekly MHP commanders' meeting Monday morning, Watson says Captain Gary Becker out of the Highway Patrol's Butte office briefed staff on the status of the investigation.

While nothing has been ruled out on the cause of the crash, accident investigators are narrowing down the possibilities.

Investigators with the Montana Highway Patrol have met with representatives of General Motors and International, who made the pickup truck and fire engine, respectively, and are pursuing leads from that meeting.

Watson tells us Becker called the incident a very technical crash and will be reviewed by several crash reconstruction experts and teams before the final cause is released.

Watson says they won't place a deadline on the reconstruction in order to allow investigators time to ensure the report is accurate and complete.

J and D Truck Repair, the shop that repaired a pump on the Three Forks fire engine, says at no point did they work on the mechanics of the fire engine before it left Helena.