Roosevelt County rancher named Senator Steve Daines’ ‘Montanan of the Month’ for heroics following Amtrak Derailment

Published: Nov. 3, 2021 at 9:52 PM CDT
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - On September 25, Amtrak’s “Empire Builder” derailed in northern Montana resulting in several injuries and three deaths. Many first responders and good Samaritans worked together to help those onboard, including a Roosevelt County man who was honored by Senator Steve Daines.

Sixty-one-year-old Daniel Hutchinson is a rancher, Navy veteran, and foster parent. He is also considered a hero.

“Just a regular guy in Montana that happened to be at the right place at the right time,” Hutchinson said.

He’s talking about his actions following the Amtrak derailment near Joplin that prevented him and his son Joshua from visiting his granddaughter, who was hospitalized in Washington.

“There was a little bit of rough track here and there but nothing this rough. I felt gravel on the underbelly of the car and I knew we were derailed almost immediately,” Dainel said.

After making sure he and Joshua were ok, Daniel’s leadership training from his time in the military kicked in, making sure others were okay and providing a calm and confident voice during the tragedy.

“On a submarine, you are your own fire department. You are your own EMT crew, and so I’ve had a lot of training on what to do in a casualty situation and it was just the natural thing to do,” Daniel said.

Through his leadership, he helped those in nearby cars and worked with others to help free trapped passengers.

“We helped a lady down off the top who had a badly broken arm. She was coming down ladders that were at a pretty good slope. I climbed up one ladder just to help steady her as she came down, and somebody was on the other ladder, and my son steadied the ladder she was on and we all just jumped in and helped. Just did what we could,” said Daniel.

As part of his “Montanan of the Month” initiative, Senator Steve Daines honored Daniel by submitting a statement of recognition in the official Congressional Record. In it, Daines called him “A True Montanan” and honored him for not only his actions on that day, but for what he does every day for others.

“I know you said it was just part of your service, but not everybody would have risen to that level and got it done. You did, and I thank you,” said Daines.

After the accident, Daniel said he prayed, thanking the Lord for putting him in a position to help those around him. In the congressional record, Daines stated that he believes that the passengers that were helped by Daniel also said a prayer of thanks for his leadership.

The cause into the derailment is still under investigation.

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