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Mourners celebrate the life of Big Horn County Sheriff Darrell King

King's funeral service
Posted at 5:33 PM, Nov 29, 2023
and last updated 2023-11-29 19:38:12-05

Hundreds remembered Big Horn County Sheriff Darrell King at a Wednesday service at Lockwood High School, which included a memorial procession that ran all the way to a cemetery in Hardin.

King died in a two-vehicle crash on November 19, 2023, on the two-lane Highway 212 near the Little Bighorn Battlefield.

"It's a horrible day to be here under these tragic circumstances," interim Big Horn County Sheriff Jeramie Middlestead said in news conference before the service. "He made a profound impact on the community and the sheriff's office."

Family escorting the casket

Law enforcement agencies from around Montana, including federal, state, county, and municipal officers arrived at the school Wednesday to pay their respects.

"The sheer amount of people that are here shows the impact that Darrell had on the community," Middlestead said. "There's really not much more to say about that. It speaks for itself."

Middlestead was among a handful who spoke during the hour-long service about King's life and career.

At the conclusion of the service, those law enforcement employees lined the sidewalk leading out of the gymnasium, saluting the family as they escorted the casket to the hearse.

Memorial Procession

That was followed by a lengthy procession, that transported King from Lockwood to the Hardin Fairview Cemetery, where he was laid to rest.

"As I have learned, the law enforcement community in Montana is extremely tight-woven," Middlestead said. "It has been incredible to see the support in this tragedy."

Middlestead was among the many in attendance fighting back tears.

"As an undersheriff, you know that one day it may happen, but you're never prepared to take over a role that someone as great as Darrell held," Middlestead said. "But I will do my best and Darrell entrusted me with that honor, and I intend to fulfill it."

“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.

Big Horn County Sheriff Darrell King
Big Horn County Sheriff Darrell King

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.

The Montana Highway Patrol released the following information about the crash that killed King:

As part of the investigation, it was determined 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.

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 anyone who knew him

“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.


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