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Four Crashes, One Fatality On I-29

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Construction Zone Danger In Mills County

By Joe Foreman, Editor

A Nebraska man died from injuries he suffered in a collision early Saturday afternoon on Interstate 29 west of Pacific Junction.

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    Michael J. Eppenbach, 60, of Ord, Neb., was pronounced dead at Creighton University Medical Center in Omaha.
    Eppenbach was a passenger in a pickup truck driven by George Mills, 60, of Raymond, Neb. The truck was entering Interstate 29 from the northbound entrance ramp at mile marker 32 (Pacific Junction) when the driver attempted to make a U-turn in the two-lane construction area. Mills’ vehicle was struck by a northbound semi semitrailer truck driven by Ernest Stenger of New Paris, Ohio.
    Both vehicles ended up over the west shoulder of the highway. Stenger was not injured. Mills and a second passenger, Jeffrey A. Eppenbach, 36, of Waverly, Neb., were transported to Creighton Medical Center for multiple injuries.
    The accident was one of four last week in the I-29  construction area.
    Last Tuesday evening, Eric J. Harris, 51, of Glenwood suffered serious injuries when his 2007 Harley Davidson motorcycle left the roadway as he attempted to merge into traffic from the northbound entrance ramp to the interstate from U.S. Highway 34.
    Harris’ motorcycle went down a west ditch and collided with fence posts. Harris landed in standing water. He was treated at the scene by Pacific Junction and Glenwood rescue personnel before being transported to UNMC.
    Two crashes took place in the construction area Friday.
    Around 2:15 p.m. a 2006 Buick driven by Robert A. Tranckino, 72, of Kansas City was merging onto northbound I-29 from the U.S. Highway 34 entrance ramp when his vehicle collided with a northbound semitrailer truck driven by LeRoy Cox, 49, of Ontario, Canada. Tranckino did not yield to Cox, according to an Iowa State Patrol Report. No injuries were reported. Both vehicles sustained damage.
    Three hours later, three vehicles (an SUV, motorcycle and pickup) collided in the southbound lane of the interstate north of mile marker 35.
    The pickup, driven by Maegan A. Duran, 21, of Council Bluffs, collided with the motorcycle driven by Luke M. Edmonds of Plattsmouth, Neb., 27. A Toyota Highlander, driven by Tara M. Cowherd, 35, of Omaha then collided with Duran’s vehicle, which rolled after entering a roadside ditch.
    Duran was transported to UNMC by medical helicopter.