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Laurel woman among those stranded by Spring storm on Bozeman pass

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Posted at 8:35 AM, May 09, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-09 10:35:40-04

A woman from Laurel was stuck on Interstate 90 on the Bozeman pass on Tuesday night and Wednesday morning.

“A little over 12 hours,” said Demi Albrecht, who was about two miles from the top of the pass. “I was pretty close to being over and through it. And it was just blizzarding last night. So just left my car on and kind of hunkered down.”

Many others also were stranded.

Albrecht had just flown into Bozeman and was heading home to Laurel before another planned road trip to Missoula for graduation.

She had enough warm clothing and blankets but no food and just a little water.

Albrecht was confident everyone would rally together to help each other if it became necessary.

 “I'd say it wasn't that scary because you're with hundreds of other people who are in the same situation as you,” Albrecht said. “So just more frustrating.”

And many truck drivers were also stuck on the pass.

“I got there about 10 after 2 (a.m.),” said Artie James, a truck driver for North Park Transportation. “I started rolling, it was a little over 11 hours. When you're at 10 hours or 11 hours, they're just anxious. That's a long time to sit in a car.”

James started his day on Tuesday in Butte.

He picked up some cargo in a few places including Billings, and then headed back.

James knows Interstate 90 and the Bozeman pass well, estimating he's made the trip about 1,000 times.

“Springtime snow is always gross because the snow content has a lot more moisture,” James said. “So it freezes quicker. The wind was blowing, howling hard up there. So it froze up quicker.”

They say Interstate 90 was backed up nearly 20 Miles heading east out of Bozeman and westbound for about 10 miles into Livingston.

“It was just a weird fluke that it got everybody, got kind of bunched up in there on both directions at the same time,” James said.

“I saw some semis moving and the car in front of me moved,” Albrecht said when the road was clear enough to drive, “It’s oh, thank goodness. We made it out and I finally hit that tall point of the pass. I was like we're good. We're good.”