Department: Missoula County Sheriff's Office
Tour of Duty: 1 week
End of Watch: March 26, 1934
In the evening of Monday, March 26, 1934, Lyle Ward was found dead after witnesses reported that he crashed his motorcycle into a guard rail on Highway 10 about two miles east of Missoula.
Ward had been involved in a high-speed pursuit, believed to be around 60 miles per hour. During the pursuit Ward lost control of his motorcycle as he struck loose gravel. He went into the guardrail near the former Northern Pacific viaduct and was thrown from his motorcycle. Sheriff J.R. Thompson found Ward's body about 30 feet away. Death was believed to be instantaneous from head trauma. The vehicle he had been pursuing was never found.
The death of Lyle Ward occurred just ten days after he had been employed as a special deputy for the Missoula County Sheriff's Office. He was performing his duty as a traffic inspector at the time of the accident. Before assuming his role as special deputy he was employed as a Northern Pacific fireman for more than twenty-one years.
Ward was a native of Lorraine, Wisconsin and was born on September 7, 1886. He came to Missoula with his family when he was a small child. He left behind his mother, Mrs. Frank Huwe, and a sister, Julia Allen. He also had a brother, Earl, who lived in St. Paul, Minnesota.