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Cop crash

A 19-year-old man crashed into a Laurel patrol vehicle Tuesday evening.

Rodney Montoya

A texting driver crashed head-on into a Laurel police car Tuesday evening after swerving across two lanes of traffic and jumping two curbs.

A 19-year-old Billings man was cited for reckless driving after his 1992 Chevrolet Caprice crashed into a police car at about 6 p.m. on Southeast Fourth Street in Laurel, according to Trooper Aaron Freivalds of Montana Highway Patrol. Freivalds declined to release the man’s name.

Laurel police were looking for the Caprice after receiving reports of a suspected drunken driver in the area. When the officer located the vehicle, it jumped a curb, swerved back onto the street, across the oncoming lane of traffic and onto the other curb.

The man steered the car off the curb and collided head-on with the 2010 Chevrolet Tahoe patrol vehicle. Officers discovered the driver was not under the influence but he admitted and proved he was text messaging while driving, Freivalds said.

No injuries resulted from the accident. The police car suffered minor damage but the Caprice was disabled in the wreck.

“It’s pretty bizarre when you think about it, an officer responding to find a drunk driver and the vehicle he’s looking for runs into him head-on,” said Laurel Police Chief Rick Musson. “What are the odds of that?”

Musson said the Tahoe was in a body shop waiting for assessment by insurance representatives. He did not know how extensive the damage is or how long the vehicle will be out of service.

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General assignment reporter for the Billings Gazette.