BILLINGS — It all started with individuals throwing beer cans off of a parking garage on North 26th Street in downtown Billings—but it ended a few blocks away, with a crash and a 15-year-old driver apprehended for suspicion of DUI.
Debris still littered the streets Saturday after an early-morning collision that sent four to the hospital.
“It makes me sad," said Drew Lodahl, who was walking near the scene of the accident, on Saturday. "Makes me really sad to know that drugs and alcohol, and especially our youth, are a part of this."
According to a social media post from the Billings Police Department (BPD), just before 3 a.m. on Saturday, officers were called to an investigation of individuals throwing beer cans off of a parking garage on N. 26th St. After BPD responded, the individuals fled the scene.
Then, just around the corner at 3rd Ave. N. and N. 27th St., the suspect vehicle ran a red light, crashing into another vehicle. The driver of the suspect vehicle, a 15-year-old female, was apprehended and investigated for suspicion of DUI.
“An incident like that hurts my heart," said Nick Enslow, a director for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Yellowstone County, on Saturday. "I wish I could say in my capacity with the Boys and Girls Clubs there wasn’t always a part of me that thinks, is it going to be a club kid? Is it going to be somebody that we’ve cared for, that we’ve worked with? So, I feel like it just puts me back into a position of why the work is so important."
Three individuals from the suspect vehicle and one from the victim vehicle were sent to the hospital. MTN News reached out to BPD Saturday morning for further information but has not yet heard back. The current conditions of those injured are unknown.
“I wish I could say that our youth have got a better shot as opposed to the national average, but it looks like figures here recently show that our youth here in Yellowstone County do experience a higher incident of struggles with alcohol, drugs, and all of that,” Enslow said.
Enslow helped facilitate this year’s March Against Drugs and Violence, which took place on Saturday at the Yellowstone County Courthouse lawn, right around the corner from where the early-morning accident occurred.
“We feel that it’s really important that here within town, especially on the courthouse lawn, for people to hear messages of hope,” Enslow said. "We had Misty (Mitchell) from Passages who spoke and had a wonderful story of coming out of that shadow of her own youth, and really working to create a future for herself that is independent of drugs, alcohol, and violence. I think it really helps put into perspective why this is so important. Why we need to continue to make sure that we’re out here, that people have opportunities to be able to give their story."
According to Enslow, the crash serves as a reminder of the importance of keeping the youth away from drugs and alcohol.
"We have youth who are trying to figure out how to navigate the world, and unfortunately, drugs and alcohol can often take a place that is very detrimental for their health and for the health of others,” Enslow said. "It is just an example of why this is so important. Why we continue to keep it in the forefront of our minds, that we are not impervious to the effects of this. Why we work hard every day in our capacities as parents, as professionals, to try and give the best to our youth."
To learn more about the crash, click here.
To learn more about the annual March Against Drugs and Violence, click here.