Tragic Collision on Highway 49 Claims Two Lives

What: Fatality
Where: Highway 49 MM 89 (11 miles south of Beulah)
When: June 4, 2024, 2:38 PM Central
Road Conditions: Good
Weather Conditions: Sunny
Crash Involvement: Vehicle/Vehicle
Type of Crash: Rear-End
Agencies Involved: North Dakota Highway Patrol, Mercer County Sheriff’s Department, Hazen Ambulance, Hazen Fire, Beulah Fire

Vehicle No. 1: 2024 Volkswagen Tiguan
Driver No. 1: Robert Gardner, 20-year-old male from Riverton, Utah (Fatality)
Restraints: Seatbelt in use
Charges: No charges filed
Passenger No. 1: Jacob Kesler, 20-year-old male from Ely, Nevada (Fatality)
Restraints: Seatbelt in use

Vehicle No. 2: 2024 Volvo Semi-Truck
Driver No. 2: Brandon Boucher, from Minot (No injuries)
Charges: No charges filed

Narrative: On June 4, 2024, at 2:38 PM, a Volkswagen Tiguan driven by Robert Gardner and carrying passenger Jacob Kesler, both 20, was traveling northbound on Highway 49. The northbound traffic had been stopped by the fire department due to a vehicle fire blocking the roadway. A Volvo semi-truck driven by Brandon Boucher was stopped in the northbound lane with several vehicles ahead. The Tiguan failed to notice the stopped traffic and collided with the rear of the semi-truck’s trailer. Both Gardner and Kesler were pronounced dead at the scene. Boucher was uninjured. The crash remains under investigation by the Highway Patrol.

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