Support Local Journalism


A Bozeman man is accused of drunkenly driving his truck into a home behind Hyalite Elementary while three people were inside the house.

John Russo, 42, is charged with three counts of felony criminal endangerment. He appeared by video Wednesday in Gallatin County Justice Court before Judge Rick West, who set his bail at $15,000.

A piece of ceiling drywall hit a boy’s head, who was sitting just feet from the where the truck stopped inside the house, court documents say. The boy was taken to the hospital and is OK, according to a family member.

Two other people inside the home were uninjured.

On Tuesday around 5:30 p.m., Bozeman police responded to Ravalli Street for a report that a truck had crashed into a house.

Officers found that the truck was completely inside the house. The truck’s right tire stopped inside a bathtub near the front of the house.

The owner of the house had to wake up Russo, who was sitting in the driver’s seat, after the truck came to a stop, court documents say.

Officers and firefighters began evacuating people from the home because of structural damage, including exposed wires and water spilling from broken pipes.

Officers escorted Russo out of the home. Russo was uninjured, and an officer said he was unable to a walk a straight line.

Police said in charging documents that Russo was slurring his words, had a white film on his tongue and smelled like alcohol.

Russo admitted to police that he had been drinking at the Korner Klub and was driving to his home on Corwin Street, court documents say. When asked how much he had to drink, Russo didn’t give a specific answer, according to court documents.

“At this point, enough… Yeah, more than I should have,” Russo told police.

A preliminary breath test showed that he had a blood alcohol content of .245, court documents say.

Police said in charging documents that based on tire tracks in the snow it didn’t look like the truck slid, turned or tried stopping. While driving through the front yard, police said, the truck sheared a tree that was 5 inches in diameter and threw some of it on the roof of the house.

On Wednesday morning, the home’s alarm was sounding. Debris was strewn across the front yard. Large pieces of plywood covered the hole where the truck had entered the home.

Justice Carpenter, 18, who lives at the home with his mother and her boyfriend, said he was shopping for groceries at Rosauers when his mother called to tell him what happened. He said he was concerned about all people in the house, but especially for his 12-year-old brother, who was in the room the truck crashed through.

Carpenter said he rushed home and found that his brother had kicked out a window screen to get out of the room because the truck had blocked the room’s entrance. He said all his brother wanted to do was hug him when he got home.

Carpenter said his brother was the “bravest kid I’m ever going to meet.”

“My brother’s OK, and that’s all that matters to me,” he said. “Of course my mom and everyone mattered, too. But I was really worried about my brother.”

He said he took his brother to the emergency room afterward because he had been hit in the head with debris. But he said his brother is OK.

Carpenter returned to the home on Wednesday to get a photo book that was gifted to him for Christmas. He said it had “old family memories that just can’t be replaced.”

“It was very special to me and I just can’t leave it here,” Carpenter said.

Support Local Journalism

To see what else is happening in Gallatin County subscribe to the online paper.

Freddy Monares can be reached at or at 406-582-2630.

Support quality local journalism. Become a subscriber.

Subscribers get full, survey-free access to the Bozeman Daily Chronicle's award-winning coverage both on our website and in our e-edition, a digital replica of the print edition.