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Family and friends remember Big Horn County sheriff killed in crash

Patrol cars stretched out one after another, a fitting procession as the body of Big Horn County Sheriff Darrell King was brought back to Hardin on Monday.

“We couldn’t have dreamed of a better son, a better brother, a better father. He was one of the greatest men I ever had the privilege of knowing,” King’s brother, Mark Denny, said Monday at Bullis Mortuary in Hardin.

King, 55, was killed Sunday in a two-vehicle crash on Highway 212 near the Little Bighorn Battlefield Monument. According to the Montana Highway Patrol, King was driving a private vehicle, not a patrol car, when he collided head-on with a tractor-trailer.

Police said Monday they do not believe speed or alcohol were factors.

Big Horn County commissioners named Undersheriff Jeromie Middlestead as acting sheriff Monday afternoon.

Denny says his older brother was his mentor and a man who made it his mission to make the world a better place.

“He always wanted to find a way to help the community and when he said he was going to run for sheriff, we all agreed he would be the greatest sheriff ever,” Denny said.

Alina Hauter/MTN News

Mark Denny, Darrell King’s brother.

King’s list of accomplishments could fill a novel. He was a United States Marine who served in Desert Storm and Operation Desert Shield.

“He was proud of it. He was proud to be a soldier. And like I said, he wore it on his sleeve every day,” Denny said.

Crow Tribe Senator-elect Pat Alden Jr. says that’s part of the reason King was elected, because the community knew he would get the job done.

“He has been instrumental on the law enforcement side in reducing the problems with the lack of law enforcement in the county and on the reservation,” Alden Jr. said.

Alden says King was also one of the community’s biggest cheerleaders, even sending motorcades of patrol cars to accompany the Hardin High School teams whenever they won.

“Once the volleyball arrived, he had over 10 patrol cars, law enforcement escorting them into town. Things like that, just a phone call away. He loved his community and wanted to be involved,” Alden Jr. said.


Mary King

Darrell is survived by his parents Lucille and Oliver, his wife Mary and his two daughters, Kateri and Delphine, but he was a friend to all who knew him.

“He didn’t make friends, he made a family. So everyone who got to know him ultimately became brother, sister, mother and father,” Denny said.

It’s a loss that will take time to heal.

“He cared about everyone. And the legacy that he leaves, I mean, it’s going to be difficult to fulfill. And I think that’s why it hurts so much,” Denny said.

Updated at 5:20 p.m.

Big Horn County commissioners have appointed Undersheriff Jeromie Middlestead to take over after the death of Sheriff Darrell King.

Middlestead will serve in an interim role until a permanent sheriff is named, according to the county. This individual will serve until December 31, 2024.

In the November 2024 election, Big Horn County voters will choose a new permanent sheriff to serve the remainder of King’s four-year term, according to the county.

HARDIN – Big Horn County Sheriff Darrell King was killed in a two-vehicle crash Sunday afternoon.

The fatal crash occurred around 5 p.m. on U.S. Highway 212 near the Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument, according to the Montana Highway Patrol. King’s mother, Lucille Yarlott, confirmed to MTN News Monday morning that her son was killed in the crash.

According to the Montana Highway Patrol, King collided with the head of a tractor-trailer near mile marker 2. King was driving a private vehicle, not a patrol car.

Police do not believe speed, alcohol or drugs played a role in the crash, which remains under investigation, according to a news release from the sergeant. Jay Nelson.

King, 55, was sworn in as sheriff in January after being elected last year. Yarlott said her son spent most of his career in law enforcement after serving in the U.S. Marine Corps and participating in Operation Desert Storm.

King worked as a prosecutor in Lame Deer, Yarlott said, and was also employed by the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the La Paz County Sheriff’s Office in Arizona during his career.

King’s death was reported on Facebook by the Daniels County Sheriff’s Office, which posted:

My office extends its condolences to the friends, family and colleagues of Big Horn County Sheriff Darrell King. I had the pleasure of meeting him and he was a very kind man who wanted to make a difference in his community. Rest assured, Sheriff, we have it from here.

Montana U.S. Attorney Jesse Laslovich released a statement regarding King’s death late Monday morning:

“I was saddened to learn of the tragic passing of Big Horn County Sheriff Darrell King, who was a key partner to our office and all of our federal law enforcement agencies. On behalf of everyone, I offer our most sincere condolences to his family. His family should know that federal law enforcement held Sheriff King in the highest regard, and we will honor his legacy of kindness and diplomacy by working collaboratively with all of our partners to keep the people of Big Horn County, the Crow Tribe and the Northern Cheyenne Tribe. on.”

Col. Steve Lavin of the Montana Highway Patrol also released a statement Monday afternoon:

“I was saddened to learn of this recent tragedy and loss within the law enforcement community. Our deepest condolences go out to Sheriff King’s family and the Big Horn County Sheriff’s Office.

Under state law, Big Horn County commissioners must appoint an interim sheriff and the position will appear on the ballot in November 2024.

King leaves behind a wife and a child.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

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