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Tragedy strikes area roads

Within a 40-hour span this past weekend, four people lost their lives due to multiple accidents.

The first fatality occurred Friday night when 31-year-old Brian O'Keefe of Roberts died as a result of a one-vehicle accident near Spring Valley. Then, early Sunday morning, Mark Anderson, 51, of Ellsworth lost his life, when his truck rolled in the Town of Trimbelle. Finally, Arnold and Alice Tiedke, 64 and 63, respectively, of Bay City lost their lives due to a two-car collision.

Capsules of each accident and the victims' lives are listed below.

Arnold and Alice Tiedke

Mrs. Tiedke was driving the couple's Chevrolet Monte Carlo at 12:57 p.m. Sunday on Hwy. 10 in the Town of Union when it apparently crossed the center line, colliding with a Ford Wind Star driven by Trisha Nelson of Plum City. Mrs. Tiedke and her husband, Arnold Tiedke, who was a passenger, both died as a result of the accident.

Nelson, 28, had two passengers in her vehicle: Ashley Blue, age eight, and Aaron Nelson, two. Trisha was airlifted from the scene to Regions Hospital where, as of Monday, she was not listed in their system, which generally means treated and released.

Ashley Blue and Aaron Nelson were treated and released from Fairview Red Wing Medical Center.

Ambulance personnel from Plum City, Maiden Rock and Ellsworth were assisted by Plum City firefighters, according to a Pierce County Sheriff's Department news release.

The crash remains under investigation, according to Deputy Sheriff Mike Vodinelich.

The Tiedkes resided in a home on 1.6 acres at W5372 CTH V, about five miles southeast of Ellsworth.

Several neighbors said they were familiar with the couple, but didn't know them well.

Some years ago, Mr. Tiedke was employed in the cutting, forming and long-seaming department at the former Meyer Machine Company--now Thomas and Betts Company--at Hager City. He was also said to have been employed with Red Wing Shoe Company before joining the staff at Treasure Island Resort and Casino, where he was employed in the maintenance department.

The couple had at least three adult children: Alex, Alan and Amy, a neighbor said.

Arnold's sister, Cindy, has been a resident at the Brotoloc group home in Ellsworth at least 25 years, said director Nancy Stewart. The couple visited Cindy regularly.

Stewart will remember Arnold's keen sense of humor, friendly manner and concern for his sister.

"They were just such a warm and caring family," she said.

Mrs. Tiedke's brother is Fred Shaw of Pepin, formerly of Ellsworth.

Funeral services for Mr. and Mrs. Tiedke are noon this Friday at English Lutheran Church in Ellsworth. Hill Funeral Home is handling the arrangements.

Mark Anderson

Mr. Anderson was driving his Chevrolet truck early Sunday morning on 810th Street in the Town of Trimbelle when he lost control of it and the truck overturned, causing injuries claiming his life.

The Pierce County Sheriff's Department was alerted to the crash at 2:48 a.m.

The accident occurred about a mile from his home, which was on 480th Avenue.

He was alone in the truck and was pronounced dead at the scene by Medical Examiner Sue Dzubay, according to a sheriff's press release.

Ellsworth fire and ambulance personnel assisted at the scene.

The crash remained under investigation early this week, according to Sgt. Tom Gunderson.

Anderson was born in Red Wing and graduated from Ellsworth High School in 1974. After working for the tannery in Red Wing, he became a truck driver as he delivered milk and later worked for Bill Schroeder at Hager City Express.

Also during that time, Anderson worked for his father, Ron, on the family farm and for Anderson Trucking.

"He and his dad were real close," said lifelong friend Kerry Johnson. "They farmed for many, many years." Matter of fact, he added Mark bought the family home when Ron sold off the property.

Johnson also said Anderson was popular in the Ellsworth community and enjoyed coin collecting and loved the Wisconsin Badgers and Green Bay Packers.

"He had a lot of friends," he said.

Funeral services for Anderson have been set for 11 a.m. this Saturday at First Lutheran Church in Red Wing. Hill Funeral Home is handling the arrangements.

Brian O'Keefe

Mr. O'Keefe was riding in a GMC truck Friday night driven by Ryan N. Peterson, 29, Roberts, on 290th Street at 790th Avenue in the Town of Gilman, when Peterson apparently lost control of the vehicle, entered the west ditch and overturned. Both men were ejected in the crash.

O'Keefe was transported to Baldwin Area Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead. Peterson was airlifted to Regions Hospital from a parking lot at the nearby Spring Valley High School about 10:15 p.m., 30 minutes after the crash was reported. He was listed in critical condition Monday at Regions Hospital.

Sgt. Tom Gunderson of the Pierce County Sheriff's Department stated in a news release that authorities learned of the crash at 9:44 p.m.

The accident scene is about two miles southwest of the Spring Valley village limits. Temperatures at the time of the crash were hovering around the zero mark.

Ambulance, fire and police personnel from Spring Valley responded to the crash, along with two ambulances from Ellsworth.

The crash remained under investigation early this week, Gunderson noted.

O'Keefe was a 1995 graduate of St. Croix Central High School and studied at Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College. He was employed as a tool maker at Ideal Tool in Stillwater, Minn. He enjoyed hunting, fishing, golf and all manner of competitive sports.

Funeral services are set for 11 a.m. today at the Roberts Congregational United Church of Christ. O'Connell Family Funeral Home in Baldwin is handling the arrangements.