Counseling has been arranged at Charlo High School after the death of a student in a highway crash involving a Lake County sheriff’s deputy early Saturday.
Adriana Johnson, a 17-year-old junior, was identified Tuesday as the victim by Don Bell, sheriff and coroner of Lake County.
Bell said Johnson was in a Jeep Wrangler that made an unexpected U-turn on Highway 93 south of town. The jeep was struck by a sheriff’s cruiser responding to an emergency call in St. Ignatius. The accident occurred at around 5 a.m. Saturday.
Bell said Deputy Corey White was driving the cruiser. He was hospitalized and later released. White has been a sworn officer for 3½ years and has been with the Lake County Sheriff’s Office since last October. Before that he was a Ronan police officer and undersheriff of Golden Valley County.
White has been placed on administrative leave as per department policy and to recover from his injuries, Bell said.
A second occupant of the Jeep was also hospitalized and was initially reported in stable condition.
A post on the Charlo School District Facebook page Monday said students will have a chance to gather with licensed counselor Marie Michels on Wednesday and Thursday from 10 a.m. to noon each day. To make arrangements to speak with someone before then, they were urged to contact the school at 406-644-2206.
Johnson “will be missed dearly,” the Facebook post said. “Please keep her and her family in your thoughts and prayers. Death can be difficult to deal with, and with many unanswered questions, we hope to support families and students in any way we can.”
Bell said the Montana Highway Patrol is still investigating the crash.
The fatality, along with crash-related deaths in Billings on Sunday and near Flaxville on Monday, morning raised the state’s 2018 highway death toll to 49, 14 fewer than on June 5 a year ago.