BILLINGS — A rollover crash involving two vehicles Tuesday evening in the Billings Heights has crash victims and their families feeling grateful for their lives.
At 6:36 p.m. on Tuesday, Billings police received a report of a two-vehicle crash near the 1300 block of Main Street, according to a police spokesperson. Both the northbound and southbound lanes of Main Street were closed for rescue efforts and the investigation.
Around 8 p.m., the northbound lanes re-opened, followed by the southbound lanes re-opening around 8:45 p.m.
A 2008 BMW, occupied by three teenage boys, t-boned an SUV containing two adults and two juveniles. Police said witnesses reported speed as a factor in the crash, but an investigation is ongoing.
Witnesses say the BMW was speeding on Main Street before hitting the white SUV and then swerving into oncoming traffic in the other lane, where the car came to a rest.
The driver of the BMW was cited for reckless driving and operating a motor vehicle without insurance.
Amanda Anthony, the mother of one of the passengers in the BMW, told MTN News on Wednesday that she lived every mother's worst nightmare when finding out her son was in an accident.
“It is the worst call I could ever get. I’m just thanking God he’s fine,” Anthony said. “Knowing that they made it out alive and the family made it out alive, I have a big feeling these kids will not do that again. These kids learned their lesson and nobody has to worry about them doing that again."
Anthony explained that negative comments on Facebook pushed her to interview with MTN so she could explain her view of the incident as a parent.
"They're talking about us parents saying that we didn't teach the kids. I've taught my son that these vehicles are not toys," Anthony said. "But when they go out the front door and get behind a wheel, it's up to them. This is just an eye-opener for them."
Anthony explained that the driver of the BMW recently purchased the car and was just excited to have a new vehicle and that no drugs or alcohol were involved.
"These kids did not go out there and think, 'Ok, we're going to get behind the wheel and go crash into a family,'" Anthony said. "It was not intentional at all."
Anthony explained the boys have learned their lesson, although it was a harsh one to learn.
"They didn't care about checking on themselves. They wanted to make sure everyone else was okay," Anthony said. "It's a miracle everybody is alive. I now believe in miracles."
Anthony explained the three boys in the BMW are shaken up but in stable condition. She also said she spoke with emergency personnel at the scene, and they told her the family in the SUV will be "just fine".
Witnesses of the crash said speed was a factor. Chance Conley manages Masterlube in the Heights and said he witnessed the entire ordeal that ended right in front of the shop.
“The engine was revving, I’d say he was going like 60-70. Super fast. I watched it happen, it made a huge bang,” Conley said on Wednesday. “It hit them hard enough that it flipped up and that white SUV ended up upside down."
Conley said cars stopped to help and restaurant-goers also ran to the scene.
“There were two people stopped right there in the turning lane kind of right out front of the shop here. People were coming out of Guadalajara. There was a bunch of people that ran out to help,” Conley said. “There were a couple people out trying to lean down, there was a lot of stuff in that white SUV so they were trying to determine if there were people inside of the vehicle still or not."
Conley explained that while it was a scary and hectic scene, he was thankful to see so many rush to help before emergency personnel arrived.
“I mean it’s scary, you know. You think about it, and what went through my head is Pizza Ranch is right here. I was worried there were kids in the car or something like that, to get t-boned like that, it’s just scary,” Conley said. “Just be careful driving on a busy street like this. I’m sure they were just kids having a good time, but you know, have a good time and a safe time at the same time."
A good time, and a safe time. And Anthony believes this lesson will never leave the boys.
"The (social) media is putting these kids down so bad, and they're sitting there saying that they should get attempted murder," Anthony said. "They just made the wrong decision and got the worst of the consequences. I just want everybody to know these kids learned their lesson."