Four Dead After Crash Near Epworth

By Katelynn McCollough and Ellen Kurt, KCRG-TV9

EPWORTH, Iowa — The four people killed Saturday afternoon in a Dubuque County crash have been identified as 14-year-old boys from Epworth, Peosta and Dyersville.

The Dubuque County Sheriff's Office said the accident happened after a truck pulling a trailer failed to stop at a stop sign just after 1:30 p.m. Saturday near Epworth.

The sheriff’s office said the truck, driven by 24-year-old Joseph Connolly of Holy Cross, hit a John Deere Gator utility vehicle near East Pleasant Grove and Hartbecke roads.

The four people on the Gator, Bryce Wilwert of Epworth, Sean Kenneally of Peosta, Mitchell Kluesner of Epworth and Nicholas Kramer of Dyersville, were killed. All four were 14 years old.

Kluesner's father is Lt. Todd Kluesner of the Epworth Fire Department. The fire chief wrote on the department's website that Mitchell Kluesner grew up hanging out with his dad at the fire house.

“There is no doubt in our minds that Mitchell would have been one of the best firefighters to ever join the ranks of our department. Our hearts are heavy with grief and sorrow,” Chief Thomas Berger wrote on the website.

Counselors will be on hand Monday at Western Dubuque High School in Epworth and Drexler Middle School in Farley.

Connolly was not injured in the collision, but his two passengers, 25-year-old Joe Lucas of Epworth and 21-year-old Elissa Ericson of Cedar Rapids, were taken to the hospital. Lucas later was transferred to the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in Iowa City but was listed in stable condition.

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