Vermillion teen dies in weekend car accident

Vermillion teen dies in weekend car accident
Using a small sledge hammer, Steve Williams secured a brightly-painted silver cross in a ditch along Highway 50 east of Vermillion.

Later that evening, on her way home from her job in Yankton, his wife, Jackie, planned to stop at the site, located near the east overpass, and hang a wreath on the cross.

Steve built it not for his own satisfaction. He simply wanted to provide an avenue that would allow friends and relatives of Jason Bottolfson a way to pay their last respects.


Bottolfson, 18, died in a one-vehicle rollover accident last weekend.

The Clay County Sheriff's Office received a report of the accident at 9:30 a.m. Sunday, Jan. 28. Investigators believe the accident occurred several hours earlier.

Williams' creation, made of iron bars welded together, gleamed in the sun Tuesday afternoon thanks to its fresh coat of paint. He also welded small loops on the cross, places where individuals could fasten wreaths, balloons or other remembrances and not have to worry about them being cast adrift in South Dakota's wind.

Bottolfson, the driver of the vehicle and its only passenger, was eastbound at the business loop off ramp west of Vermillion. He died at the scene.

Preliminary investigative reports indicate that seat belts were not worn by the victim and that the pavement was dry. The cause of the accident is under investigation, with assistance by the South Dakota Highway Patrol and the Vermillion Police Department.

Bottolfson was the son of Jay and Kirstina Bottolfson. His funeral was held Wednesday, Jan. 31, at Trinity Lutheran Church in Vermillion.

The local fatality proved to be the first of among several serious weather-related auto accidents starting earlier this week, caused by strong winds, blowing snow, ice and poor visibility.

A South Dakota woman is hospitalized following a serious crash near Beresford Monday morning.

The woman was traveling north on I-29 when she hit a patch of ice and lost control of the vehicle she was driving.�The vehicle entered the median, rolled and landed in the southbound lanes.

The woman was not wearing a seatbelt and was ejected from the vehicle. She was transported to a hospital with life-threatening injuries.

An infant was also traveling in the vehicle. The child was properly buckled in a car seat and was uninjured in the crash.

South Dakota Highway Patrol troopers working the south central and southeast corner of the state were extremely busy all morning responding to vehicles involved in weather-related crashes. �

The Highway Patrol offers drivers the following travel reminders.

  • Wear your seat belt.
  • Slow down. Keep extra following distance between you and vehicle in front of you.
  • Be especially careful on bridges and overpasses.� Slippery spots might remain on the highways even after they have been cleared.
  • Drive with care around road maintenance vehicles. They travel slowly, but are providing a public service and are clearing the roads as quickly as possible.
  • Remember the road in front of road maintenance vehicles is usually in much worse condition than the roadway behind them.
  • Blowing snow around trucks may reduce visibility. Don�t pass them unless you are sure the oncoming roadway is clear of vehicles and drifts.
  • Drive without using cruise control. �
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