Two Fish-Wildlife employees killed in Pickstown crash
PICKSTOWN -- Two U.S. Fish and Wildlife employees were killed in a vehicle crash Monday evening near Pickstown.
Dr. Robert Allan Klumb, 46, of Pierre, and Maegen E. Spindler, 25, of Cazenovia, N.Y., were in the Pickstown area doing field work on the Missouri River, said Scott Larson, field supervisor in the Pierre Fish and Wildlife office.
Around 8:45 p.m., Ronald Ray Fischer Jr., 28, of Lake Andes, was driving a 2003 Chrysler Town and Country mini-van on Highway 18 when he failed to stop at the stop sign at the T-intersection of Highway 46.
The van traveled into the Dakota Inn parking lot, where it struck and killed Klumb and Spindler, and damaged two vehicles.
Fischer was seriously injured in the crash. He was taken by Wagner Ambulance to the Wagner Community Memorial Hospital-Avera and later airlifted to Avera McKennan Hospital in Sioux Falls.
Klumb worked for the Fish and Wildlife Service for more than a decade. Spindler was working as a fisheries technician assistant for Klumb during the summer.
According to the Fish and Wildlife Service website, Klumb was the lead research biologist in the Pierre office.
"He was an enthusiastic fisheries person, as you can imagine," Larson said.
He said Klumb and Spindler were part of a team of six. The group had worked until about 7 p.m. Monday, Larson said.
"As near as we can tell, they were in the parking lot getting gear ready for the next day," he said.
As of Tuesday afternoon, Fischer was still in the hospital, said Trooper Casey Bassett, who is investigating the crash.
Bassett said firefighters extracted Fischer from the vehicle using tools and is unsure whether Fischer was wearing a seat belt.
Lt. Alan Welsh of the South Dakota Highway Patrol said lab results of Fischer's blood are still pending to determine whether he was driving drunk. Witnesses are still being interviewed.
Welsh said it didn't appear Fischer made any attempt to follow the road.
"The driving is so bad in this, I want to make sure we aren't dealing with a medical problem," Welsh said.
He added that the highway patrol deals with two or three incidents a year when a person crashes their vehicle due to a medical condition like a heart attack or stroke.
Charles Mix County Sheriff's Office and Wagner Fire Department also responded to the accident scene.