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accident update

Two vehicles were totaled in an accident at the intersection of 33rd Avenue and Eighth Street Wednesday night in Columbus

The victim in a Wednesday evening car crash just outside of Duncan was identified as 58-year-old Arizona man Charles Matthies, Platte County Sheriff Ed Wemhoff said on Thursday.

The sheriff announced more details about the wreck that occurred about 5 p.m. Wednesday, as previously reported by The Columbus Telegram.

Investigation revealed that a 2003 Ford pickup (driven by Matthies, of Green Valley, Arizona) had been traveling eastbound on U.S. Highway 30 (about 1-mile east of Duncan), when the vehicle crossed the centerline into the path of an oncoming westbound 2004 Peterbilt semi-tractor, pulling a loaded cattle pot trailer.

The crash was a head-on collision between the two vehicles, the sheriff noted.

The driver of the semi-tractor, 32-year-old Nathan Fischer, of Menno, South Dakota, was not injured in the crash, he said.

Both drivers were wearing seatbelts at the time of the crash and front airbags were deployed in the Ford pickup.

Both vehicles were totaled because of this crash, the sheriff said, adding the trailer was not damaged and all the livestock were safely removed from the trailer and transported to a local yard until arrangements could be made with the owner of the cattle.

Alcohol is currently not believed to have been a factor in the accident, Wemhoff said.

The Sheriff’s Office and Nebraska State Patrol are jointly working this accident investigation.

The Columbus Police Department also released details regarding another accident that happened around the same time in town at the intersection of 33rd Avenue and Eighth Street. According to CPD Capt. Todd Thalken, a Chevrolet Cruze was heading southbound on 33rd Avenue when it tried to turn west on Eighth Street. Thalken said the Cruze allegedly turned in front of a northbound Honda Element, causing a collision between the two vehicles. One person is reported to have suffered minor injuries to his or her face, but no one was transported to a medical facility.

Both vehicles were totaled as a result of the crash. The driver of the Cruze was cited for Failure to Yield, Thalken said.

Anyone with additional information regarding these accidents is asked to contact the Platte County Sheriff’s Office at 402-564-3229 or Platte County Area Crime Stoppers at 402-563-4000.

Jon Burleson is a reporter for The Columbus Telegram. Reach him via email at

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