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Crash Deaths, Suicide Stun Community

January 27, 1987

HARRISON, Neb. (AP) _ This small northwestern Nebraska community is in mourning following the deaths of two teen-agers in the crash of a pickup truck whose young driver fatally shot himself after reporting the accident.

It was ″a tragedy upon a tragedy,″ Sioux County Attorney John Skavdahl said Monday. ″We’ve got a lot of trauma here, and I’m sure it’s going to affect the community for a long time.″

Kim Jamison, 17, and Cori Martinson, 15, both of Harrison, were killed when the pickup in which they were riding crashed Sunday night on a country road about mile north of Harrison, said Deputy Sioux County Attorney Bob Wickersham. The driver, 21-year-old Brian Root, shot himself at the scene after notifying authorities of the crash, according to a statement from Wickersham’s office. He died on the way to the Crawford hospital.

Two other teen-agers from Harrison were hospitalized. Tina Bauersachs, 16, was treated and released, and Ashley Rising, 15, was in guarded but stable condition with cuts and bruises, said her father, Bob Rising.

Wickersham said all five were in the cab of the pickup.

Root’s parents, who live in Cody, Wyo., lived in Crawford for about 10 years until a couple of years ago, Rising said. He said he knew the family and thought highly of Brian, who attended Crawford High School.

″He was one of the nicest kids around,″ he said.

Classes at the 55-student Sioux County High School in the town of 380 people were dismissed early Monday, and the girls’ basketball game Monday night at Hay Springs was canceled.

Jamison and Martinson were team members, as were the two injured girls. A funeral service was planned at the school Wednesday.

Sioux County Sheriff James Robertson said Root moved to the area from Lincoln a few weeks ago to work on a ranch.

Robertson said no evidence of alcohol was found in the pickup or near the scene, but results from blood tests were not yet available. Tracks indicate the pickup had been zig-zagging from one side of the road to the other, he said.

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