Monday, July 31, 2017

Fatal accident occurred July 31, 2017 at Hector International Airport (KFAR), Fargo, North Dakota

Airport Exec. Director Shawn Dobberstein points to location where SUV struck worker on runway.

FARGO – A contract worker painting markings on the runway of Hector International Airport was killed in a collision with an SUV early Monday, July 31, 2017, said Shawn Dobberstein, executive director of the Fargo Airport Authority.

The worker was identified by Fargo police as Darry Arveson Jr., 48, of Glen Ullin, N.D.

Dobberstein said Arveson was using a vehicle to paint lines on the runway when it was hit by an SUV driven by an airport employee.

The airport employee was identified as Airport Assistant Director Darren Anderson, who has worked for the airport since 1997. He and his passenger in the SUV were not hurt in the crash.

The collision was reported to emergency dispatchers about 12:40 a.m. Monday. Arveson died at the scene, Deputy Police Chief Joe Anderson said.

The collision happened on the airport’s main runway, according to Dobberstein.

“Our sympathies go out to the (contract) employee and his family and obviously our employee and his family as well,” Dobberstein said.

No one was cited in the incident, but the investigation is ongoing and the case will be referred to the Cass County State’s Attorney’s Office to review whether any charges would be appropriate, Deputy Chief Anderson said.

“We’re going to look at what caused the crash and any charges that could be recommended. At this point, the (airport) employee has been very cooperative with law enforcement,” the deputy chief said.

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FARGO—Fargo's Hector International Airport is investigating the first fatal crash it's ever experienced on the runway.

It involved a SUV and a small, paint striping vehicle. The crash happened on the airport's primary runway early Monday morning.

48-year-old Darry Arveson Jr from Glen Ullin, North Dakota was killed in what airport and Fargo police are calling a tragic accident.

It was at the Hector International Airport around 12:40 a.m. in the morning where officials say Darry Arveson, a contract worker with a private company, was painting stripes in a small utility vehicle, similar to a lawn mower. He was hit by an SUV driven by Airport Assistant Director Darren Anderson, who was coordinating the project.

"[The] tractor was out on the airfield for a couple reasons, primarily to remove some pavement markings and then also to remark, repaint marks out on our primary runway," said Airport Authority Executive Director Dobberstein.

Dobberstein says the crews were working on a routine project.

"A lot of maintenance on your runways especially [is] done at night, we typically don't have operations during the nighttime hours, but certainly, the airport was still open, except primary runway was closed for this operation," Dobberstein said.

It turned into a tragedy when the vehicles collided, while traveling in the same direction, leaving authorities searching for answers.

"It's unfortunate,” Dobberstein said. “Our sympathies go out to the employee and his family and obviously to our employee and his family as well.”

Some of their key questions involve how well lit the project zone was, the state of headlights on both vehicles and how fast they were going. All new questions for an accident Dobberstein has never seen in his nearly 30 years at the airport.

"We've had aircraft incidents and those types of things, but what we would term as a vehicle pedestrian type incident, no we haven't had anything like that," said Dobberstein.

As the investigation continues, so does the construction and flights out of the airport.

Darren Anderson has not been cited, but authorities admit, the case poses unique difficulties. Fargo Police say they cannot issue speeding citations on runways, as the airport owns the facility.

The FAA says it's up to individual airports if they choose to set speed limits. Hector International Airport does not have a posted limit, according to managers. They say tarmac traffic is coordinated through air traffic control.

"Runway presents a certain challenge for law enforcement, we don't' police the runway for speeds," said Fargo Police Deputy Chief Joe Anderson.

Authorities do not know if speeding was a factor or not in last night's collision.

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FARGO (KFGO) -  A contract worker doing striping work was struck and killed by a airport authority SUV on one of the runways at Hector International Airport early Monday.

Police identified the victim as Darry Arveson Jr., 48 year-old male, from Glen Ullin, ND. 

Airport Authority Exec. Director Shawn Dobberstein says Arveson was in a small, specialty vehicle.  He says the striping is part of routine runway maintenance.  Arveson died at the scene.  

Dobberstein says the driver of the airport vehicle was the Airport Assistant Director Darren Anderson.     

The crash scene was about a half-mile north of the main terminal.

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