Boy with cancer killed in crash

Published 9:01 am Friday, November 9, 2012

By Paul Walsh, Minneapolis Star Tribune

DODGE CENTER — A pickup truck crossed into oncoming traffic Tuesday and struck an SUV head-on along a southeastern Minnesota highway in a collision that killed both drivers and a 10-year-old passenger in the SUV who was heading home after brain cancer surgery, authorities said.

The crash occurred about 6:30 p.m. on U.S. Highway 14, just west of Dodge Center, according to the State Patrol.

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Killed were pickup driver Scott D. Hodgman, 50, of West Concord, and SUV driver Jack P. Reich, 43, of Zap, N.D., and his son Vander.

Reich’s wife, Mardee A. Reich, 39, who suffered a broken ankle and a neck injury, was taken to St. Marys Hospital in Rochester, according to the family.

All vehicle occupants were wearing seat belts.

The pickup was heading east when it crossed into the path of the westbound SUV, said State Patrol Lt. Eric Roeske.

Jack Reich was a prominent cattle rancher in western North Dakota who recently ended a two-term stint as president of the North Dakota Stockmen’s Association.

The Reichs were bringing Vander back home to western North Dakota from the same hospital where his mother is now recovering, said Maureen Williams, mother of Mardee Reich. Vander had undergone surgery on a brain tumor and was scheduled to return in a couple of weeks to Rochester for radiation treatment, according to the grandmother.

Williams said Mardee Reich helps with the family’s ranching business and teaches a religion class at St. Joseph Catholic School in nearby Beulah.

The Reichs also have two younger children who were left in Williams’ care while her daughter’s family made the roughly 1,200-mile round trip.

Williams said Vander was a skilled hunter of deer and pheasant, and also a member of a trapshooting team.

“If you met him, you’d think you were talking to a man and not a little boy,” she said.

Hodgman owned a drainage business in his hometown.

—Distributed by McClatchy Tribune News