Jefferson County Undersheriff Mike Johnson on Monday identified the five members of a Townsend family killed in last week’s fiery crash on Highway 12 near Helena.
Matt Boegli, 29, and Crystal Ross, 30, along with their three children — 4-year-old Breighton Boegli and 3-year-old twins Madison and Peighton Boegli — were riding in the pickup that collided with a fire truck driven by Three Forks Fire Chief Todd Rummel around 9 p.m. Thursday, Johnson said. All six people died in the crash.
Chris and Chuck Winders of East Helena said their daughter Kayla Groat worked with Ross at Fairfield Inn.
Ross and Groat were best friends, Chris Winders said.
“Her and Kayla were around the same age, and they were like sisters,” she said Monday with tears in her eyes.
Matt Boegli worked in construction with Groat’s fiancé, Steven Dusek, and the two couples were very close, Chris said.
Groat had 11-year-old twins, and her son Colby was just a few months older than Breighton, Chris said. Her 2-year-old daughter Shelby was close with Ross’ twins.
“The kids all kind of grew up with each other,” she said.
“Crystal was very outgoing,” Chris said. “She had a huge heart. Her kids came first, before everything else.
“It didn’t matter if her and Matt had to go without,” she said.
Chris said Ross and Boegli often came to their house to celebrate holidays, including this Easter, when their kids participated in an Easter egg hunt with her grandchildren.
“They were very giving people,” she said of the couple.
When her daughter told her about the accident, Chris said, they cried together and have been grieving ever since. She said she couldn’t believe the whole family had been taken “all in one shot.”
“I told everybody they were lying; it can’t be them,” she said. “They were young.”
A funeral service for the family is scheduled for 3 p.m. Thursday at Twitchell Funeral Service at 314 N. Rodney. The funeral will be followed by a reception at the Helena Valley 4H Community Center at 2605 York Road. The family has not yet decided whether it will keep the services private or open them to the community.
A memorial service for Rummel is scheduled for 2 p.m. Wednesday in the gymnasium at Three Forks High School. The community is welcome and encouraged to attend.
Those wishing to send money to assist with the funeral costs can donate to The Benefit of the Ross and Boegli Family fund at Valley Bank.
Thursday’s crash left both vehicles mangled nearly beyond recognition.
Montana Highway Patrol Sgt. Jay Nelson said the investigation into the cause of the crash is nearing completion.
“We obviously have some things that will take a little bit of time to put together, but I think we’re pretty close to the actual cause,” Nelson said.
John Barnes, a spokesman for the Attorney General’s Office — which is now assisting in the investigation — said details about the cause of the crash wouldn’t be released until this morning at the earliest.