Posted: Dec 9, 2011 3:15 PM by Katy Harris (KAJ News)
Updated: Dec 9, 2011 8:43 PM
The mother of fallen Montana Highway Patrol (MHP) Trooper Evan Schneider has pushed for a state-wide alert system that notifies people when a criminal is on the run after seriously injuring or killing law enforcement.
Becky Sturdevant lost her son MHP Trooper Evan Schneider in 2008 while he was on duty.
Schneider was catching up to a vehicle on Highway 2 through Bad Rock Canyon. The vehicle being pursued crossed into the oncoming lane of traffic and forced a pick-up truck off the road.
That pick-up truck then over corrected, lost control and hit Schneider's vehicle head-on. Both the occupants in the pick-up truck and Schneider were killed.
Sturdevant says the person or persons in the mystery vehicle that Schneider was first following is still out there somewhere.
"When he was killed law enforcement was seeking the 3rd vehicle in that crime and perhaps if the public had been mobilized sooner they might have found that person. You never know whose going to be the key in this kind of crime in solving it."
Since the death of her son, Sturdevant has been active in Legislative sessions to push for stricter laws on drinking and driving. She also heard about a new alert system called Blue Alert that could catch a suspect who has seriously injured or killed an officer.
That's when she when she teamed up with Representative for House District 8 Steve Lavin to get the new alert system in Montana. Lavin says passing the bill was a no-brainer.
"It's probably the only bill this year that passed unanimously,150 votes, and I was really proud of the legislature for passing this for officer safety and public safety."
The Blue Alert can be sent out to TV and radio stations, Twitter and Facebook accounts. You can also see the alert on highway signs. Sturdevant stressed the importance of getting the information out as soon as possible.
"Any time there's a crime like this is committed, the sooner information can be disseminated to anyone who can help, the better chances are that the criminal will be apprehended."
When the Blue Alert bill was introduced into Legislation this year it was coincidentally assigned as Bill number 269. That was the badge number of MHP Trooper David DeLaittre that was shot and killed near Three Forks just over a year ago.