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FLATHEAD COUNTY, Mont. -- A Montana Highway Patrol trooper and two other people died Tuesday evening in a head-on collision on U.S. 2 near Bad Rock Canyon. A woman passenger was near death Wednesday from injuries received in the crash.
The death of Trooper Evan F. Schneider, 29, marks the second time in less than a year that a Highway Patrol trooper has been killed in the line of duty in Flathead County.
David Graham, 36, died Oct. 9, 2007, after his squad car was struck head-on by a distracted driver in a pickup that crossed the center turn lane on U.S. 2 north of Kalispell.
Schneider was eastbound on U.S. 2 at about 7:15 p.m. Tuesday about a quarter mile east of the House of Mystery when his patrol car collided head-on with a half-ton GMC pickup traveling in the opposite direction.
Schneider, of Kalispell, was on duty in a marked patrol car.
The trooper and the driver of the pickup, 42-year-old Roy Allen Moore of Hungry Horse, were pronounced dead at the scene, according to Flathead County coroners.
A woman riding in the pickup truck suffered major head trauma and was airlifted to Kalispell Regional Medical Center, where she was in critical condition Wednesday evening. Her name has yet to be released.
Moore and the unidentified woman were both ejected from the pickup.
Their deaths bring to 12 the number of fatalities on Flathead County highways this year.
According to Lynn Solomon, a spokeswoman for the Montana Department of Justice in Helena, Schneider had been traveling west on U.S. 2 between Columbia Falls and Hungry Horse when he observed the driver of a vehicle traveling in the opposite direction commit a traffic violation.
Schneider turned around to go east and passed two vehicles with his emergency lights flashing. He was attempting to pull over the vehicle when an oncoming pickup truck crossed the center line and struck the trooper's car head-on.
Robert and Delena Shippy, who were camping at the House of Mystery, said they saw the trooper's patrol car pass by moments before the collision.
"We saw a cop car drive by with its lights flashing, his sirens weren't on, and within an instant we heard this loud crash," Delena Shippy said. "There were no screeches or anything. Just a horrific sounding crash."
The Shippys own a concession, an anti-gravity ride, that had been operating out of the House of Mystery since early July, House of Mystery owner Joe Hauser said.
"There have been so many accidents right in front of our place," said Hauser, who has counted seven or eight near-misses outside his business this year. "This is the first summer we haven't had a rear-end accident."
The crash occurred next to a Flathead River fishing access, about half a mile past where two eastbound lanes merge into one, Hauser said.
To slow merging traffic navigating the curve in front of his business, Hauser in early June erected two signs -- one facing eastbound and the other facing westbound -- warning drivers about potential turners.
"The state made us take them down because they were in the right-of-way," said Hauser, adding that moving the signs farther off the highway diminished their visibility. "We've been talking to the state and a local traffic engineer trying to get [drivers] to slow down. They all tell us there's nothing they can do about it."
Funeral services for Schneider are scheduled at 2 p.m. Tuesday the Christian Center Assembly of God Church in Kalispell.
Schneider, who would have turned 30 in early September, joined the Highway Patrol in January 2004. He is survived by his wife, Carrie. Schneider's brother, James, is a Montana Highway Patrol trooper of the Libby detachment.
"Although the work we do takes us to every corner of the state, the Patrol is a small, close-knit organization," said Col. Paul Grimstad, the Highway Patrol commander. "We lost a colleague and a good man."
Schneider was the sixth trooper to lose his life in the line of duty since the Highway Patrol was created in 1935.
Patrolman Michael M. Ren died in an April 8, 1978, shootout with a fugitive near Eureka while trying to serve a warrant.
Patrolman Richard Hedstrom was struck and killed by a pickup while writing a warning ticket July 19, 1973; Patrolman James Anderson had pulled over a vehicle on Bozeman Hill on Aug. 1, 1954, when a vehicle coming from the opposite direction struck and killed him.
On Nov. 2, 1946, Patrolman Robert Steele was approaching a suspected getaway car in an armed robbery when he was shot in the neck.

Story From:The Daily Inter Lake
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