The Park County Sheriff’s Office has identified a Columbus man as the victim of a fatal head-on crash that also hospitalized a sheriff’s deputy Friday.
Shawn Schmitz, 53, was the driver of a car that crossed into oncoming traffic on Highway 89, 7 miles south of Livingston, and collided with the deputy’s patrol car just before midnight Friday, according to a Sunday evening social media post by Sheriff Brad Bichler.
Deputy Brian Elliott-Pearson, 61, was flown by air ambulance to a Billings hospital.
“Elliott-Pearson has undergone two successful surgeries so far and is in stable condition,” Bichler wrote.
There were no other occupants in either vehicle, according to Montana Highway Patrol Trooper David Morris.
The crash occurred at mile marker 46, Morris said.
While Morris noted that the investigation is in its early stages, he said Schmitz may have been speeding prior to the crash. His Audi sedan pushed the deputy's pickup backward when they collided, he said. Schmitz was headed southbound, while Elliott-Pearson was northbound after helping Morris with a traffic stop minutes earlier, the trooper said.
Both drivers were trapped in their vehicles and had to be extricated, Morris said. Schmitz was pronounced dead at the scene.