Prosecutors have filed charges against a bar located at Bridger Bowl Ski Area, accusing it of over-serving alcohol to a man who later killed another driver and himself in a head-on collision while driving back to Bozeman.

Grizzly Ridge Station and its owners Donald and Andrea Bockhahn were charged with unlawful sale of an alcoholic beverage, a misdemeanor. The charge was filed in Gallatin County District Court last week.

The charge alleges the bar over-served alcohol to Brett Randal Ferre, despite his slurred speech, sloppy check writing and staggering through the bar on that day.

According to charging documents:

Ferre was driving toward Bozeman on Bridger Canyon Road on Dec. 8, 2018, when his truck left his lane on a curve in the road and hit Deborah Jean Stratford’s truck. Ferre and Stratford were pronounced dead at the scene.

Law enforcement found in Ferre’s truck two empty beer cans behind the passenger seat, empty six-pack rings, skis, ski boots and ski poles. A blood sample later showed Ferre had a blood alcohol level of 0.237 and THC in his system.

The next day a Bozeman detective spoke with bar owner Donald Bockhahn, who said he heard about the incident and asked his employees if they noticed anyone too drunk that night. Bockhahn said last call was 7 p.m., and that his daughter, who was running the bar, was strict.

Bockhahn speculated that Ferre might have been involved in the crash and recalled serving him one beer or so before he left around 6:15 p.m. He said he thought Ferre left the bar with other people to go to a party in a parking lot.

A Montana Highway Patrol trooper later interviewed Bob Petitt, Bridger Bowl general manager, who said multiple people saw Ferre at the bar the day of the wreck.

Petitt later showed the trooper video of Ferre going in and out of the Grizzly Ridge Station. Petitt said the video did not show Ferre being served alcohol at Bridger Bowl, which is separate from the bar.

The trooper interviewed witnesses days after the incident. They said they saw Ferre inside the bar and that he was obviously drunk because he could not walk a straight line and his speech was slurred. Witnesses said they offered Ferre a ride home because he was drunk.

Bartenders who worked the day of the incident said they don’t remember seeing Ferre or anyone else too drunk inside the bar. They said Ferre was at the bar often and they had a hard time remembering that specific day.

Bockhahn later provided law enforcement with video from the bar that showed Ferre there from about 2:40 p.m. to about 6 p.m. Ferre drank eight beers and one Jello shot that either he or friends bought.

A trooper said Ferre displayed obvious signs in the video that he was drunk, including taking a long time to sign his receipt and fumbling his wallet. Ferre talked to bartenders and got close enough to them that they should have noticed he was too drunk, the trooper said.

A court appearance for the defendants has not yet been scheduled.

Freddy Monares can be reached at 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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