Hundreds Pay Respect to Trooper Haynes

By Beacon Staff

<Click the image above or use the arrows to see more photographs from the memorial service for Montana Highway Patrol Trooper Mike Haynes.

The story of Montana Highway Patrol Trooper Mike Haynes’ life was told in photographs.

“To put it simply, Mike loved life … just look at the pictures,” Melody Haynes, Mike’s mother, said in a prepared statement read by Reverend Jim Davey at her son’s memorial service Tuesday at the Christian Center in Kalispell.

Before and during the service, the hundreds of people in attendance, including scores of law enforcement and emergency personnel from around the state and beyond, watched as images were projected on two large monitors.

They saw Haynes as a child, playing with his younger brother and sister, and as an adult, enjoying video games and outdoor activities. There was Haynes in uniform – Highway Patrol green and sand-gray military fatigues. And most of all, there were images of Haynes with his wife and two young children.

“In his 28 years, he loved more than most do in 80,” Colonel Mike Tooley, head of the Highway Patrol, said. “Loving and full of life – that was Trooper Mike Haynes.”

Haynes, who was critically injured in a head-on crash early last week, died Friday morning at Kalispell Regional Medical Center. He was 28.

The other driver, who was traveling the wrong way on U.S. 93 south of Kalispell when his car collided with Haynes’ patrol vehicle, was killed instantly. Alcohol and excessive speeds were a factor in the crash.

Haynes was born in California, and moved to Kalispell with his family as a teenager, where he graduated from Flathead High School in 2000. He then enlisted in the Army National Guard and served with the C Company 1-163rd Infantry Battalion out of Missoula in Iraq from December 2004 to November 2005. He went to work for the Montana Highway Patrol about three years ago.

Haynes is survived by his wife, Tawny, his two young children, Taryn, 3 1/2, and Elias, 16 months, as well as his parents, John and Melody Haynes of Kalispell, and siblings, Matthew Haynes and Joanna Wing.

On Tuesday, family, friends and fellow law enforcement officers remembered Haynes as a determined, loving and devoted father – and as an “Internet superstar,” a moniker born of a prank Web site called “Haynes My Way” devoted to the trooper.

“I had five years and 12 days to share with my love and I’m grateful for every one,” Tawny Haynes said through her pastor, adding that in that short time the couple enjoyed “enough love to last two lifetimes.”

After nearly 30 years without any fatalities, 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 was the seventh Highway Patrol trooper to die in the line of duty in the Patrol’s 74-year history.

“To the leaders of the Montana state Legislature, I ask you please to form an interim committee to study impaired driving laws in this state,” Tooley said.

John Haynes encouraged the crowd to forgive and let go of any bitterness caused by his son’s death, and to honor his memory by continuing his devotion to service.

“I just pray, do it like my son,” John Hayes, Mike’s father, said. “He loved all people.”

A benefit fund is set up at First Interstate Bank, and in lieu of flowers donations can be made to the Montana Hope Project. People are invited to go to www.buffalohillfh.com to leave condolences or messages for the family.

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