BIG HORN COUNTY, Mont. – Big Horn County Sheriff Darrell King was killed on Sunday in a two-vehicle crash, which occurred about 5 p.m. on U.S. Highway 212 near the Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument, KRTV reported.
On Monday, the Montana Highway Patrol said its investigation revealed that “a commercial motor vehicle collided head-on with a passenger vehicle being driven by Sheriff King, which was not a Big Horn County vehicle. He was pronounced deceased at the scene. Speed and impairment do not appear to be factors in the crash, which remains under investigation.”
King, 55, was sworn in as the Big Horn County Sheriff in January 2023 after being elected last year. His mother, Lucille Yarlott, said her son spent most of his career in law enforcement after serving in the U.S. Marine Corps. He was an active duty Marine who served in Operation Desert Storm and Operation Desert Shield.
Darrell King (family photo)
Yarlott said King also worked as a prosecutor in Lame Deer, and was also employed by the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the La Paz County Sheriff’s Office in Arizona during his career.
It’s unclear if anyone was injured in the semi-truck that was involved in the collision and further details were not immediately available.
On Monday, a long parade of patrol cars escorted King’s body back to Hardin.
“You couldn’t ask for a better son, a better brother, a better father. He was one of the greatest men I ever had the privilege of knowing,” said King’s brother Mark Denny at Bullis Mortuary in Hardin.
Denny noted that his older brother was a man who made it his mission to make the world a better place, KRTV reported.
“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.
“He was proud to be a military man. And like I said, he wore it on his sleeve everyday,” said Denny.
The community knew King could get the job done, that’s why he was elected sheriff, said Crow Tribal Senator Pat Alden Jr.
“He’s been instrumental on the law enforcement side in curbing the issues of lack of law enforcement in the county and the reservation,” Alden Jr. said.
On social media, several law enforcement agencies expressed their condolences for the loss of Sheriff King.
Montana’s U.S. Attorney Jesse Laslovich issued a statement Monday afternoon, KULR 8 reported.
“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 all of them, I offer our sincerest 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 and the Crow Tribe and Northern Cheyenne Tribe safe.”
Big Horn County Sheriff Darrell King with loved ones. (Family photo via KRTV)
“He didn’t make friends, he made family. So everyone that got to know him eventually became a brother, sister, mother, and father,” Denny said.
Sheriff King is survived by his parents Lucille and Oliver, his wife Mary and his two daughters, Kateri and Delphine.