Small Town Devastated After Tragic Accident

Meghan Matthews

Small Town Devastated After Tragic Accident

CREATED Jun. 12, 2013

 Weeping Water, NE - A tragic accident has rocked the small town of Weeping Water. An entire community is heartbroken over the loss of their beloved volunteer.

"Everybody is in total shock right now."   
"How can you get by without Bob?"
Family friend Mike Keckler says the tight-knit community has lost one of their own.
"That would be the biggest thing I could say about Bob, is that if you ask and sometimes when you didn't ask him, he would help you."
Bob Hanes started volunteering about a year ago as a driver for Weeping Water Fire and Rescue. He was driving a patient to a Lincoln hospital Tuesday night, when the unthinkable happened. Around 10:30 William Whitlatch drifted into oncoming traffic along Highway 34 near Elmwood. He smacked head on with the ambulance Bob was driving.
"How can you get by without him, he's just that kind of guy. Thought about his family...I know them all", adds Keckler.
Whitlatch died on the scene. Fire crews used the Jaws of Life to pry Bob out of the ambulance. He later died.
"Just your stomach just drops because it's like I said a small community you know everybody, it's somebody that you're close to and it's just devastation."
A man you could count on and loved by all who knew him, Bob's death is tough to swallow.
"In a small community there's just not that many people, and, so you're just, a great man is gone."
Bob's daughter Mellisa Hanes, another EMT and the patient in the ambulance went to the hospital with minor injuries.
The accident is still under investigation, by the Cass County Sheriff's office and the Nebraska State Patrol.