Update 4 p.m Tuesday
A neighbor who lives across South 37th Street from the accident scene says he saw somebody get out of the red Nissan Frontier pickup truck shortly after it crashed into the tree Tuesday morning.
"I did see somebody get out of the truck and run around between the houses," said Derek Riddle. "Then when the police showed up, they went around back and one guy said, 'We got one guy back here. He’s alive but has a broken neck.'"
Investigators were seen collecting evidence samples from what looks to be blood spatter behind a residence at 317 S. 37th St. There also appeared to be blood on the home’s side door. Riddle and his wife woke up after hearing what sounded like a crash on the corner of South 37th Street and Fourth Avenue South. Moments later, the truck rammed into the tree, but its wheels continued to spin.
"It sounded like someone crashed against the tree, and their foot was jammed on the accelerator pedal," Riddle said. "It didn't let up for 10-15 minutes."
Police said in a press release they believe an altercation occurred inside the vehicle before the crash. There are visible bullet holes in the driver’s side door and window, conducive to Riddle’s wife’s account.
"She said she heard gunshots," Riddle said. "I couldn’t quite tell - they were muffled. They probably came from inside the cab."
Sherry Muessig has lived on the north end of the block for 42 years. She says the crash woke her up, because she’d never heard anything like it.
"We’ve had people move in and say this is the nicest neighborhood they’ve ever been in," Muessig said. "I didn’t know what it was, because that has never happened here."
Update 8:50 a.m Tuesday
Lt. Brandon Wooley said officers were dispatched at 3:11 a.m. to a vehicle crash in the 300 block of South 37th Street. When officers arrived they located two men inside the vehicle unresponsive and not breathing. The men, both estimated to be in their 20s, suffered apparent gunshot wounds and died at the scene, Wooley said. Their names have not yet been released.
A third man inside the vehicle was taken by ambulance to a medical facility. He was identified as a 22-year-old man from Billings, but his name was not released.
"Initial information indicates that a disturbance occurred in the vehicle prior to crashing into a tree on the side of the road," Wooley said in the press release. "Detectives with the Investigations Divisions are on-scene investigating. At this time, the BPD is not looking for any other persons involved. There have been no arrests."
BILLINGS - A vehicle crash on South 37th Street in Billings is now a murder investigation as first responders discover two bodies in the truck, each with bullet wounds.
Police were called around 3 a.m. for a vehicle crash. When they arrived, they found the two men shot dead and a third with severe trauma to his neck.
The injured man was taken to the hospital, and the gunshot victims have yet to be identified.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.
View the crime scene in the video below.
21-5064 0311 hrs Police dispatched to a crashed vehicle and discovered 2 male gunshot victims deceased and a 3rd male with severe trauma to his neck. Subject with neck injury transported to hospital. Deceased subjects not identified at this time. Detectives on scene.— BillingsPD (@BillingsPD) January 25, 2022