BUTTE – A well-known priest in Butte was one of the motorists caught by surprise by Wednesday’s avalanche on Interstate 90 near St. Regis.
Driving west on I-90, Father Patrick Beretta heard a rumbling sound, and then the avalanche hit him.
“Truly, it was as if the whole mountain was falling on top of us. I mean, it was just that dramatic; it was this giant, giant wall of snow,” said Father Beretta.
There in his Jeep with his two dogs, there was nothing he could do as the snow pushed his vehicle toward the median.
“You’re there at the mercy of the elements, you know. I placed myself in the arms of Christ, and you have to wait, and it stopped. And I was just incredibly grateful,” said Father Beretta.
Fortunately, his vehicle his vehicle was only partially covered with snow and no one on the road was harmed in the massive avalanche. But he and other motorists were stranded for seven hours before the highway was cleared.
“And so we bonded. It was a great atmosphere, you know, we called ourselves the avalanche family,” said Father Beretta.
Father Beretta said he was thankful for all the emergency responders who helped them get out. He says the experience reinforced his belief in the value of human life and his mission to be a force for good in the world.
Since Wednesday’s avalanche, Father Beretta has been vacationing at San Juan Island in Washington.