HELENA, Mont. — A 4-year-old boy and 3-year-old twins were among six people killed when a pickup truck collided with a fire engine last week outside of Helena, state authorities said Monday.
The family of five from Townsend was driving west on U.S. Highway 12 about 10 miles from Montana’s capital city on Thursday night when their truck collided with an eastbound fire engine driven by Three Forks Fire Chief Todd Rummel, authorities said.
There were no survivors in the fiery crash.
The children were 4-year-old Breighton Paul Boegli and 3-year-old twins Peighton Charles Boegli and Madison Marie Boegli, Jefferson County Undersheriff Mike Johnson said.
Johnson identified the adults as Matthew Carl Boegli, 29, and Crystal Marie Ross, 30, of Townsend.
Their bodies have been released to their family. It could take weeks to learn the results of the autopsies, Johnson said.
The family has asked the media to respect their privacy and not to contact them. “That’s a pretty horrific thing to hit all at once when it’s a whole family,” Johnson said.
Boegli’s half-brother, William Boegli, said he and Matthew Boegli were not close, even though their families lived on the same street in Townsend.
“He loved his wife. He loved his children. That’s about all I can tell you,” William Boegli said Monday. “Whether I liked the kid or not, it doesn’t really matter. He’s still my brother. I’m devastated over what happened.”
“I wish I could turn back the pages and change something,” he added.
The family has not decided about the funerals, William Boegli said.
A cause of the crash has not been determined. The Montana Highway Patrol is investigating, and the wreckage from the crash has been sent to the state crime lab for analysis.
Highway patrol Capt. Gary Becker did not immediately return a call for comment Monday.
A memorial service for Rummel has been set for Wednesday in Three Forks. A procession through the small town at the headwaters of the Missouri River will be followed by the service at the Three Forks High School at 2 p.m.
Rummel, 44, became the Three Forks fire chief in May after eight years with the department. He had been a firefighter since he was 18 years old.
He was driving the fire engine back to Three Forks after its water pump was repaired in Helena, fire officials said.