Three die in head-on crash on U.S. 14
DODGE CENTER — Three people -- a West Concord community leader, a 10-year-old Zap N.D. boy who was going home after brain cancer surgery at Mayo Clinic, and the boy's father -- were killed in a two-vehicle crash Tuesday evening on a two-lane section of U.S. 14 west of Dodge Center.
The Minnesota State Patrol reports Scott D. Hodgman, 50, of West Concord, who was driving a GMC Sierra, Jack P. Reich, 43, of Zap, N.D. who was driving a Chevy Suburban, and Vander P. Reich, 10, of Zap were killed. Mardee A. Reich, 39, of Zap, Jack Reich's wife, was taken to Saint Marys Hospital in Rochester where a Mayo Clinic spokeswoman said she is in serious condition this morning.
The patrol said Hodgman was driving east, Reich was driving west when they collided. The pavement was wet. The crash was reported at 6:31 p.m. The patrol said all four were wearing seatbelts. The patrol is continuing to investigate the accident and can't say exactly what happened.
Hodgman was an owner of Hodgman Drainage Company Inc. of rural West Concord; the company lays drain tile for farm fields.
"He was a good, hard-working honest person, he aimed to please every day," his manager Steve Dykes said this morning. "He took his job real serious."
"He touched a lot of people," he said. "He would do anything for you." If someone needed something on weekends, he would make sure they got it, he said.
Though Dykes wasn't a member of the family, "he made me feel like that," he said. "He was like a brother."
This morning, the employees met at the business headquarters, stood in a circle and told stories about Hodgman, he said. Everyone was upset about the death; all the stories about Hodgman were good, Dykes said.
Hodgman had finished work and was going to vote when the accident happened, Dykes said.
Hodgman and his wife, Beth, who have two sons and a daughter, were community leaders who helped organize West Concord Survival Days.
Jack Reich was a former president of the North Dakota Stockmen's Association who raised Angus cattle, said Julie Ellingson, executive vice president of the association. He took on the job of leading not for the glory but "because his heart was in it," she said.
"Jack was a long-time friend of mine," she said. He was well regarded in the association. "Jack is one of the most honest, caring people that I know," she said. "It's an awful, awful loss."
He and his wife were in Rochester because Vander had surgery for a brain tumor, she said. They were going home to let the boy recuperate for a while before planning to return to Rochester for further treatment, Ellingson said.
"This was going to be their homecoming," she said.