Responders recall deadly Altura crash - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

By Chris Conte

Responders recall deadly Altura crash


LEWISTON (KTTC-DT)-- An Altura crash that left three young girls dead in April, made a profound impact on a lot of first responders. There's nothing easy about the job, but in small towns like Altura and Lewiston it can be even more difficult.

"You're never really dealing with too many strangers, you're dealing with friends," says EMT David Sobek.

Sobek, is an EMT, Firefighter, Chaplain and school bus driver for the town of Altura. Back on April 23, he was bringing home a bus full of kids when he pulled up on this scene.

"At that point when I got there, the ambulance was not there yet so you don't have any tools to do anything with," he recalls.

Sobek was the first person to arrive that day. Killed instantly were 16-year-old Shauna Ruhoff, 14-year-old Katie Hornberg and 13-year-old Morgan Zeller.

"The issues that responders feel after an incident like this is that they wish they could have done something, but realize there's nothing they could do," Sobek says it a similar sentiment a lot of the people he works with share about that day.

"we've had a lot of people leave when situations come up," says Nick Haag who works for the Lewiston EMT Department.

At the end of any particularly tough day, there are Critical Incident Debriefings to help first responders cope with tragic calls they've dealt with.

"At meetings we re-hash things, go through just to make sure everyone bring stuff out they aren't keeping it in," Haag say.

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