Four Teens Deaths Impacting The Entire Western Dubuque Community
By Katie Wiedemann, KCRG-TV9
EPWORTH, Iowa — People in western Dubuque County are remembering the four teenagers who died Saturday in a utility vehicle crash. They were riding on a Gator Saturday on Pleasant Grove Road in rural Dubuque County when a truck blew a stop sign near Epworth, hitting the boys. They are Sean Kenneally of Peosta. Mitchell Kluesner of Epworth. Nicholas Kramer of Dyersville. Bryce Wilwert, of Epworth.
The Dubuque County attorney will determine if the truck's driver Joseph Connolly, 24 will face charges. Two others in the truck were hurt, but are expected to be okay.
As the days of summer slip by for students at Western Dubuque High School, on Saturday it seemed time stood still at the corner of Hartbecke and Pleasant Grove Roads.
The boy's classmate, Kelly Cook said, “It's going to be weird starting school and they're not there.
On Monday, classmates visited the accident site. Leaving behind flowers and remembering four boys who'll be forever 14.
“They were all class clowns and they tried to make friends with anyone,” said Cook.
The Epworth Fire Department was the first to respond to the fatal crash.
Epworth Fire Chief Tom Berger said, “oh yeah. It's tough. It's by far the worst thing I've seen in my career. “
Mitch Kluesner was the son of Epworth firefighter Todd Kluesner. Many of the firefighters watched him grow up.
Berger said, “If you have a parent who is a volunteer firefighter you're always here helping out. Whether it's cleanup or the fundraisers, you are always around. “
In the Western Dubuque School District the grief is spread throughout several communities, impacting thousands of people.
Drexler Middle School Principal Mary Jane Maher said, “Even if you didn't know the 4 young men, you know somebody who was related to them or knows somebody who knew them.”
“The accident happened in Epworth but really it's the whole western Dubuque community. Peosta, Epworth, Farley,” said Berger.