Head-On Crash Near Harrison Leaves 2 Dead, 3 Hospitalized, Several Animals Deceased


      The Nebraska State Patrol says a head-on collision between 2 pickups hauling loaded stock trailers Friday evening near Harrison left both drivers dead and 3 children hospitalized, and Hwy 20.

       State Patrol spokesman Cody Thomas says investigators are still trying to determine what caused the crash around 7:25 pm on U-S Hwy 20 about 8 miles east of Harrison.

     What they do know is that 67-year old Ruth Smathers of Lost Springs, Wyo, was westbound and 42-year old Nanna Flesch of Shelby, MT, was eastbound when they collided. Both women were pronounced dead at the scene.

       Flesch’s three children were also in her pickup and all sustained serious injuries. One was ejected from the vehicle and flown to Regional West Medical Center in Scottsbluff, then transferred to a hospital in Denver. 

        The other two were taken by ambulance to Chadron Community Hospital with one later taken by Flight for Life to Monument Health Rapid City. Conditions are not known for any of the 3. 

       Several animals also died as a result of the crash, as both trailers were loaded. Hwy 20 was closed for about 5 hours by the accident, which remains under investigation.

        The Nebraska State Patrol was assisted at the scene by the Sioux County Sheriff’s Office, Dawes County Sheriff’s Office, Nebraska Game and Parks, and the Harrison Volunteer Fire Department.