No fatalities in 3 vehicle chain-reaction crash
No deaths were reported after a semi and two vehicles were involved in a chain-reaction crash Friday morning on Highway 85, south of Belfield.
A semi carrying pipes and two Ford Explorers were damaged or totaled in a chain reaction collision when a truck slowed down to make a turn onto a gravel road.
John Pepich and his passenger, who are from Colorado but working in Watford City, witnessed the accident.
"Brandon -- the guy who was driving the truck I was in -- saw the whole thing in the rearview mirror," Pepich said. "When he saw debris start flying in the air, he looked at me and said there had been a horrible accident. We whipped around and went off the road to get to the scene and started assisting where we could."
When Pepich emerged from his Ford pickup, he braced himself for a grizzly scene that he said luckily wasn't there.
"When we got out, we thought for sure we would find people dead," he said. "Amazingly, there were only minor scratches to the people involved. I was sure the driver of the semi would be dead."
But Les Tucker, the driver of the Adams Trucking semi from Nebraska, was found unharmed when Pepich pried open the truck door with a steel bar, Pepich said.
Pipe was thrust through the driver's cab and Tucker barely missed being hit by it.
After Tucker was out of the truck, he walked over to the ambulance to be checked out and said, "Everybody stopped in front of me. I couldn't stop."
Tucker was taken by ambulance to the hospital in Dickinson.
Jory Killspotted of Rapid City, S.D., and his two passengers were simply driving in a 2007 Explorer bound for New Town when they got caught up in the accident, Killspotted said.
"I'm kind of shook up. It was crazy and I'm not completely sure what happened," he said. "Someone stopped up ahead of us for some reason, so I was already stopped and the car behind me and the semi behind him tried to stop, but I don't think the semi could stop for some reason and hit the car behind me, which hit me. It was basically a chain reaction."
Killspotted said the vehicles suffered most of the damage and everybody was OK and got out safely from his vehicle.
Nora White Eagle, who is Killspotted's mother, was traveling behind him in her 2013 Explorer when Killspotted's car got pushed off the road and hers followed.
"Based on how everybody was thrown and jerked around, I'm surprised that no one really got hurt," she said. "People ahead of us just started stopping and we tried to drive off the road, but we got hit on the front side. It was a good thing that everybody was buckled in because the things in our car that weren't got thrown out. What was damaged or lost is all replaceable, and I pray to the Lord that everybody was OK."
The Highway Patrol did not return multiple calls for comment Friday afternoon.
Linda Sailer contributed to this story.