Photo by Deb McCaslin
MERNA -- Authorities arenâ€™t exactly for sure what caused the head-on collision on State Highway 2 south of Merna Tuesday morning.
Ambulances and rescue crews from Merna and Broken Bow responded to the 8 a.m. call and the drivers of each vehicle were transported from the scene. Life Flight was called back due to the weather.
According to Custer County Sheriff Dan Osmond, what is known at present, is that a 1997 Dodge Neon driven by 21-year-old Eli Hostetler of Broken Bow was heading north toward Merna when it crossed the center line and collided with a 2010 Peterbuilt driven by 30-year-old Ryan Cleveland of Ewing. The semi rolled as it hit the ditch.
The Peterbuilt was hauling 30 head of cattle at the time of the accident. A collaborative effort between law enforcement and local ag personnel were able to remove the cattle later in the day.
Merna Fire and Rescue and the Custer County Sheriffâ€™s Officer were called to the scene and shortly requested that Broken Bow Rescue and the Custer County Mutual Aid vehicle also respond. Jaws of Life were utilized at the rescue.
Hostetler was transported to Jennie M. Melham Memorial Medical Center and then onto Good Samaritan in Kearney.
Cleveland was transported to JMMMC.
State Highway 2 remained closed until approximately 2 p.m.