Man killed in head-on crash with deputy, who remains hospitalized

Joseph Bullington --
Monday, April 8, 2019
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Enterprise file photo

Park County’s current Sheriff Brad Bichler pins an award on Deputy Brian Elliott-Pearson in this photo from April 20, 2015.

A Park County Sheriff’s Office deputy is in stable condition after he was severely injured Friday night in a headon collision that killed the driver of the other vehicle.

As of Monday morning, Deputy Brian Elliott-Pearson’s condition had stabilized and he had undergone two surgeries, according to Park County Undersheriff Clay Herbst. Elliott-Pearson was set to undergo a third surgery on Monday morning, Herbst said.

The wreck, which happened just south of Livingston and just before midnight on Friday, killed Shawn Schmitz, a 53-yearold man from Columbus, according to Park County Sheriff’s Office officials.

Officials said Deputy Elliott-Pearson was northbound on U.S. Highway 89 and Schmitz was southbound when the blue 2006 Audi A6 he was driving entered the northbound lane and crashed head on into Elliott-Pearson’s half-ton Dodge patrol truck near milepost 46.

Schmitz was pronounced dead at the scene, according to Park County Sheriff Brad Bichler, and Elliott-Pearson was life-flighted to Billings.

Elliott-Pearson has worked for the Sheriff’s Office for about 10 years, Bichler said.

The cause of the crash has not been released and Montana Highway Patrol is investigating the incident.

“The vehicle crossed into the deputy’s lane of traffic and struck him,” said Herbst, but any other details would have to come from MHP.

An MHP spokesperson said the agency could not comment or provide additional details until the investigation concludes.