Two die in accident between ambulance and truck - News, Weather and Sports for Lincoln, NE;

Two die in accident between ambulance and truck

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By: Brittany Paris

Officials say the driver of a pickup truck and the driver of an ambulance have died in a head-on collision. Residents of Weeping Water say they're shocked by the loss of a great friend.

Bob Hanes, 51, was a Weeping Water Fire and Rescue volunteer. He was the one driving the ambulance.

His friends say he volunteered for years and was willing to help anyone in need. They say Hanes is someone who will be missed.

"It's been tough," Bryce Bantz, Weeping Water Fire and Rescue, said. "He was a very good guy. Everybody knew him, respected him."

Cass County Deputies say they were called to an accident on Highway 34 around 10:30 Tuesday night. They say a pickup truck veered over the center line of the highway and collided head-on with an ambulance.

The driver of the truck, 24-year-old William Whitlatch, Syracuse, was pronounced dead at the scene. Deputies say they had been looking for his truck because of reports of erratic driving.

Hanes was taken by helicopter to Bryan West where he later died. His 30 year old daughter, Melissa, was riding in the back of an ambulance.

She, along with another EMT and the patient, were also taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

"Bob and his kids were pretty big in the city of Weeping Water," Rick Bruns, friend, said. "I'm sure everybody's going to be missing him."

Weeping Water residents say their small town is shaken up by the accident. They say things like this aren't supposed to happen to people like Hanes.

"He was a great father, great brother, husband," Bantz said. "He was just all around an awesome person."

The Cass County Sheriff's Office and the Nebraska State Patrol are investigating. One thing they'll try to figure out is why Whitlatch crossed the center line.


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