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Van in fatal crash was transporting veterans

May. 9, 2013 - 11:20AM   |  
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RAPID CITY, S.D. — After this week’s fatal crash in southwestern South Dakota involving a van transporting military veterans, a Veterans Affairs Black Hills Health System spokeswoman says it’s been an emotional time.

“The death of any of our veterans touches us deeply,” Jill Broecher told the Rapid City Journal. “The veterans, their families and loved ones and others involved in this tragedy are in our thoughts and prayers.”

Kristian Sateren, 46, of Sturgis, died in the crash Tuesday afternoon on Interstate 90 between Rapid City and Black Hawk. He was one of two people thrown from the van when it rolled into the median after trying to change lanes and colliding with a car. The car ended up rolling in the opposite ditch, according to the Highway Patrol.

The van’s driver and four other passengers suffered serious injuries and were taken to a Rapid City hospital. The car’s driver suffered minor injuries.

The van was one of several that provide veterans transportation to VA facilities at Hot Springs and Fort Meade. The service is a cooperative effort of the VA and the Disabled American Veterans transportation network.

“The goal is to eliminate the barrier of transportation issues for many veterans while they receive health care services,” Broecher said.

Rapid City Disabled American Veterans Commander Christine Wallz told KELO-TV that the crash caused “shock and disbelief.”

The van’s driver, Shawn Spiers, 33, of Hill City, is Wallz’s little brother.

“He’s physically hurt and emotionally hurt,” she said. “He’s someone who is a very caring person, and so he takes a lot of things to heart.”

The Highway Patrol said it does not appear that speed or alcohol were factors in the crash but that charges are pending.

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