William David Hutton

William David Hutton

Federal charges were filed Thursday against a man accused of driving his car into the federal building in downtown Bozeman in an attempt to "level the building."

William David Hutton, 54, is charged with destruction of government property and attempted destruction of government property. Hutton appeared in federal court before U.S. Magistrate Jeremiah Lynch in Missoula.

If convicted, Hutton could face up to 10 years in jail and up to a $250,000 fine.

At 4:41 p.m. Monday, Hutton drove his car into the west entrance of the federal building, according to charging documents. Hutton got out of the car and followed orders from a security officer inside the building.

Charging documents said Hutton claimed he suffered injuries and was taken to Bozeman Deaconess Hospital to be treated. His car was towed away.

The security officer told a Federal Protective Service agent that he saw Hutton’s car make a “right-hand movement” in front of the building, according to court documents. The officer said Hutton then slowly drove onto the sidewalk, one tire at a time, and drove five to 10 mph directly at the entrance of the building.

The officer told the agent that after hitting the door, Hutton turned off his car, grabbed his backpack, raised his hands and said, “I’m sorry. I’m sorry. It just got away from me.”

A Bozeman detective and two agents from the protective service retrieved a gun and ammunition from the glove box.

They also found a pass to Yellowstone National Park from Saturday and a Grand Teton National Park pass from Sunday, according to court documents.

Hutton met with federal agents Wednesday and expressed grievances with the federal government stemming from a sexual abuse conviction in 2003 while he was employed at Yellowstone National Park. Hutton said that caused him to lose his job and began a series of medical problems.

Hutton said his animosity toward the government made him want to take action against the federal court system in Jackson, Wyoming, where he was previously prosecuted. Hutton said his trip through the two parks was to take “action against the federal court system in Jackson.”

When he got there, however, the court building was no longer there, according to court documents. He instead decided to focus on the Bozeman federal building, which houses the U.S. Post Office and several other federal agencies.

Law enforcement believes Hutton’s plan was to get inside the building using his car and make his way to the maintenance room, disconnect the building’s gas lines and ignite it using a lighter. Hutton said he believed his actions would “level the building.”

Hutton didn’t realize a security officer was at the entrance of the building and that deterred him from carrying out his plan, court documents said.

Federal agents estimated the damage caused by Hutton is between $14,000 and $18,000. He is being held at the county jail in Missoula.

This story has been corrected to show that William David Hutton has not yet entered a plea.

Freddy Monares can be reached at fmonares@dailychronicle.com or 406-582-2630. Follow him on Twitter @TGIFreddy.


Freddy Monares covers politics and county government for the Bozeman Daily Chronicle.

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