DATE: 10/4/10 @ 0030 Hours
LOCATION: Hwy 77 & Hwy 112 Junction
OFFENSE: Fatality Vehicle Accident
On 10/4/10 at approximately 0030 hours, deputies with the Gage County Sheriff’s Office came upon a vehicle on fire at the junction of Highway 77 and Highway 112. Other people who were already on scene were extinguishing the fire. It was discovered that it was a two vehicle injury/fatality accident involving a 1989 Ford Crown Victoria driven by Donald Forke, age 64 of Wymore, and a Jeep Grand Cherokee driven by Michael Prothe, age 23 of Wymore.
Investigation showed that Forke’s vehicle was northbound on Highway 77 approaching Highway 112 and Prothe’s vehicle was southbound on Highway approaching the same junction. Prothe’s vehicle traveled onto the southbound shoulder. Prothe turned back onto the roadway and overcorrected causing the vehicle to slide into the oncoming lane. Forke steered to the right and braked in order to try to avoid the collision but was unable to do so.
Prothe’s vehicle slid sideways into the front of Forke’s vehicle and the vehicles collided causing massive damage to both vehicles. The impact caused Forke’s vehicle to catch on fire. Forke was injured and trapped inside his vehicle and had to be extricated. Forke’s passenger, Shirley Cook, 75 of Beatrice, suffered fatal injuries from the collision.
Prothe and his passenger, Ashley Callahan, 21 of Cedar Bluffs, NE, were ejected from their vehicle. Prothe’s injuries were fatal.
Forke and Callahan were transported to a trauma center by Star Care 5. Seatbelts were not in use in either vehicle and alcohol may have been a contributing factor.
Responding agencies included Blue Spring Rural Fire, Wymore Fire, Beatrice Fire and Rescue, the Nebraska State Patrol, and the Gage County Sheriff’s Office.
Sheriff Millard “Gus” Gustafson 903