Montana Highway Patrol Trooper Mike Haynes, who was critically injured in a head-on crash earlier this week, died Friday morning.
At about 2:40 a.m. Monday, 29-year-old Travis C. Vadersloot of Columbia Falls was driving the wrong way on U.S. 93 near Somers when his car collided with a patrol vehicle driven by Haynes, according to the Department of Justice. Deputy Coroner Pete Wingert says Vadersloot died at the scene.
Haynes, 28 and based in Kalispell, had been hospitalized since the crash and died shortly before 8:30 a.m. Friday.
“Mike Haynes lived his values, and loved his job and his family. You couldn’t ask for a better trooper or man,” said Colonel Mike Tooley, head of the Highway Patrol, in a prepared statement. “Montanans should be proud that someone of Mike’s caliber was working for them. He will be missed.”
Haynes had been with the Highway Patrol since 2006. He is survived by his wife Tawny, his two young children and his parents.
“The Highway Patrol has lost a brother and Montana has lost a hero. Our prayers tonight will be for Mike’s young family,” Attorney General Steve Bullock said. “Today and this weekend, I encourage all Montanans to honor and pray for the men and women who work in these dangerous occupations to make our lives safer. We also need to reflect on the devastating consequences that come with drinking and driving.”
Services for Trooper Haynes will be held at 1 p.m., Tuesday, at the Christian Center in Kalispell.
After nearly 30 years without any fatalities, Trooper Haynes is the third Highway Patrol trooper to die in the line of duty in the past 18 months. All three of the most recent deaths occurred in the Kalispell area. Haynes becomes the seventh Highway Patrol trooper to die in the line of duty in the Patrol’s 74-year history.
Here’s a list of troopers who have died in the line of duty, according to the Montana Highway Patrol:
August 26, 2008 – Trooper Evan Schneider died in a crash near Columbia Falls. While in pursuit of a vehicle, Schneider was hit head-on by another vehicle that was forced into oncoming traffic.
October 9, 2007 – Trooper David Graham died in a crash two miles north of Kalispell when a vehicle crossed a turn lane and hit him head-on.
April 8, 1978 – Officer Michael Ren was shot and killed near Eureka. Ren was trying to arrest a man on an outstanding warrant. Ren pulled the suspect over and approached the vehicle with his gun drawn. The suspect pulled a rifle and shot Ren.
July 19, 1973 – South of Kalispell, Officer Richard Hedstrom was writing a warning ticket when he was struck and killed by a pickup. Hedstrom had been on the road less than three weeks following recruit academy.
August 1, 1954 – Officer James Anderson had pulled over a driver on the Bozeman Hill. A vehicle coming from the opposite direction struck Anderson.
November 2, 1946 – Patrolman Robert Steele was responding to a report of an armed robbery in Billings. The suspects were headed east on Highway 10. Steele and another trooper spotted the getaway car parked in a ravine off the roadway. The troopers approached the car on the passenger’s side and Steele was shot in the neck.
The Associated Press contributed to this report
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