I’m the web editor for a local newspaper, but I also write articles, edit, take photos, do feature graphics, and some other miscellaneous news-related duties. Mostly, my job is fun and exciting. I meet kind, caring, and amazing people in my area every week! I would not have this opportunity anywhere else. I get to do everything I studied.

I have shot accident scenes before, but never a fatality. Yesterday was my first one. I will never forget it.

It was out in the country, Hanson County.

Before I left, we heard over the scanner that someone saw a ProBuild truck upside down in a ravine. Right before I left, there was a report that someone was in there. On the way there, I had visions of helping someone out of the truck, but from the sounds of it, that would not be the case.


Amber Hiles / Daily Republic

I drove out, and within a few miles, I could see a lot of emergency lights. There were almost a dozens responders. I parked, tried to get a shot, and then moved closer. I was waved away, and a trooper pushed me back with a road block. I asked if I could come a bit closer, and he stood with me about a quarter of a mile away.

He said I did not want to see what he saw. I agreed. I didn’t want to get any closer, and it was terrible enough to be there taking photos of a place where a man just died. The Chief Deputy Harr was a kind man and kept the conversation with me light. I appreciated that. It was a hard thing to watch.

The fire truck left. The manager of ProBuild came. A tow truck came. The Bittner funeral home vehicle came. I stood on the side of the road watching. The truck remained upside down the whole time I was there. They couldn’t get the man out. The truck was destroyed.

Steve Harr told me that there were skid marks, but no one officially knew what had happened. It wasn’t a collision. No one else was around. There was a couple in a white van though. Harr told me they were the ones who called it in. Apparently, they attempted to rescue the driver of the truck.

Anyway, remember how I told you I was standing on the side of the road? Well, the road looked like it had recently been repaved. I stood with one foot on the road, and one foot in the grass on the shoulder. The leg on the road was a foot or more higher off the ground that the other. There really wasn’t a shoulder … just a steep drop.

I waited through the evening for one of the evening people to get the story at work. Once it was ready, I webbed it and read through it. The man was hauling a trailer with lumber. The tire went off the road, he over-corrected, and that’s the end of the story.

Here is the article: Fatality

The shoulder on this oil road was entirely inadequate. If anyone dropped a tire off the side, they could have crashed, especially pulling a heavy load on a trailer.

As far as I am concerned, he shouldn’t be dead. He would still be alive right now if the road was properly maintained. It’s a terrible tragedy that could have been prevented. And don’t give me any of that, “It was his time,” bull pucky.

That road is a joke. Watch out for 247th in Davison and Hanson counties. Slow down, and be safe. I guess to be fair, he could have nodded off or been texting and driving. But, the police report doesn’t say anything about him using a cell.