Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Church Van Trip Ends in Deadly Crash

Saunders County investigators say a Wahoo man died Monday night when he crashed into a church ministry van attempting to make a U-turn on Highway 109 north of Colon, Nebraska.

Walter Anderson, 88, was traveling south on the highway when the crash took place at 8:02 p.m. A passenger in his car, Peggy Shapnek, 63, remains in critical condition at Bryan Medical Center West in
"I couldn't have my coffee with him this morning," Beverly Anderson, Walter Anderson's daughter, said, crying. Beverly Anderson also said Shapnek was her father’s friend and he was giving her a ride because he often helped people.

"It's going to be hard for a little while," Carol Smith, Walter's daughter, said. "It kind of lets go after a while."

Twelve people were in the van registered to NET Ministries, Inc. of Minnesota. All of them were over age 18, according to investigators. The driver was Theresa M. Nguyen, 22, of Louisiana. Nguyen and all but one passenger of the van have been treated and released. The remaining hospitalized passenger is in serious condition at Nebraska Medicine.

"Members physically seem to be doing OK," NET Ministries founder and president Mark Berchem told KETV NewsWatch 7’s Chinh Doan in a phone call. "They're in the process right now of kind of sorting out for themselves the whole experience."

Berchem said he's thankful for the first responders' quick actions and now the group is thinking of the families of all involved.

"We've been praying all day long for him and his family," Berchem said. "And we'll continue to do that."

Investigators say it’s too early to say whether anyone was at fault and whether charges will be filed. Drugs and alcohol are not factors. According to the sheriff’s office, until the investigation is complete, it's unknown whether road conditions or any type of distracted"

The shoulders of the roads (were) in muddy conditions," Capt. Steve Malina said. "I'm not sure if they were having a hard time trying to turn around."

A firefighter was injured while directing traffic in the area. Investigators say he was not hit by a vehicle, but rather suffered an injury in a fall. driving caused the crash

Our hearts are saddened by this tragedy and we are praying for all who were involved. Let's pray for peace and comfort of the family and friends of the gentleman who tragically died, and healing for those who were injured.


  1. What a tragic condolences to the family of the deceased.

  2. Another sad event, may God rest their soul


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