Train accident victim identified

Ashley Roness
Star Staff Writer

The 23-year-old Williston woman who was struck and killed by a train in downtown Miles City on May 21 has been identified as Alex Thatcher, according to Custer County Sheriff Tony Harbaugh.

Thatcher was struck by an empty BNSF train heading westbound at about 12:30 a.m., according to Ross Lane, public information officer for BNSF Railway. She was struck between the 8th and 10th street crossings. 

According to Harbaugh, the Sheriff’s Department is still waiting for the results of the toxicology report. 

Initial reports received by BNSF indicated the victim was seen lying on the track by the train crew, and the brake was applied immediately, Lane said. 

According to Lane, it can take up to a mile to stop a freight train, and the train was unable to stop in time.

The train was traveling at 42 mph and the speed limit on that section of line is 60 mph, Lane said. 

Thatcher was a graduate of Montana Tech with a degree in petroleum engineering, according to an obituary in the Montana Standard. She was formally of Butte. 

The Custer County Sheriff’s Office, the Miles City Police Department, and Miles City Fire and Rescue responded to the incident.

(Contact Ashley Roness at or 406-234-0450.)