Fire Chief Killed in Crash During Fire Response
Elwood Volunteer Fire Chief Darren Krull (provided by Nebraska State Patrol).

APRIL 8, 2022 (ARAPAHOE, NEB.)  — The Nebraska State Patrol is investigating a fatality crash that occurred on Highway 283 Thursday afternoon, during response to the large fire southeast of Elwood. Both vehicles involved were assisting in the fire response.

The crash occurred at approximately 5:10 p.m., when a Ford Expedition, driven by Phelps County Emergency Manager Justin Norris, with passenger Darren Krull, Chief of the Elwood Volunteer Fire Department, was struck head on by a truck hauling water, approximately eight miles north of Arapahoe on Highway 283.

Chief Krull, 54, of Elwood, passed away at the scene. Norris, 40, of Holdrege, was transported to the hospital in Cambridge with life-threatening injuries. He was then transferred to Good Samaritan Hospital in Kearney in stable condition. He has since been transferred to a hospital in Omaha. He remains in stable condition as of this morning.

The driver of the water truck, Andries Van Aswegan, 28, of Arapahoe, was not injured in the crash. The fire and smoke in the area had created zero-visibility conditions on the roadway at the time of the crash.

“Our hearts are with all involved in this tragic crash, as well as those affected by the fire,” said Colonel John Bolduc, Superintendent of the Nebraska State Patrol. “Please keep the firefighters, farmers, emergency managers, law enforcement officers, volunteers, and all others involved in this fire response in your thoughts today.”

The crash remains under investigation.