Nearly 600 members of the Broken Bow community gathered this weekend to mourn their loss and share their grief in wake of a traffic crash that claims three lives late Friday afternoon.
The Rev. Larry DeMoss, pastor of Berean Church in Broken Bow reflected the feelings of the community during his talk at a prayer service held in the town square, noting that late Friday afternoon residents began making plans for the weekend.
“A few moments later as news tricked in, we found that our collective heart had been broken with the news of a tragic accident just a few miles down the highway,” DeMoss told the crowd.
The Nebraska State Patrol reports 70-year-old Albert Scherbeck of Ansley, traveling east on Highway 2, veered across the center line and struck a van carrying the Broken Bow high school basketball team, killing two coaches, injuring eight students. Killed in the wreck were 38-year-old Zane Harvey and 24-year-old Anthony Blum.
Harvey and Blum both coached and taught at Broken Bow, which has a high school of 260 students in rural, central Nebraska. Harvey coached three sports: football, basketball and golf. He taught math. Harvey had been with the school for 14 years. Blum came to Broken Bow last fall to take over the basketball program. He also taught business and computer skills.
“We’ve lost two important members of the community,” Broken Bow school superintendent Virginia Moon told the crowd. “Two teachers who have given and given.”
Moon choked up as she addressed the memorial service.
“I know that there are many, many people in the community that will grieve for a long time to come of this,” Moon stated, trying to hold back tears. “A loss of a staff member and the loss of a student are the two hardest things I think a superintendent ever has to deal with and these are two of the hardest for me.”
The team had spent the day in Kearney, attending a basketball clinic. The van was near home when tragedy struck.
The Rev. Scott Harvey, pastor of the Evangelical Free Church of Broken Bow and the brother of Zane Harvey also addressed the service.
“Our prayers are with all the guys still in the hospital. We keep praying for them,” Harvey stated. “We just thank everyone for all your love. Zane loved this community. He loved the school. He loved the people he worked with, the kids.”
Eight students suffered injuries in the crash. Three remain hospitalized. 17-year-old Chad Christensen is reported in critical condition at Good Samaritan Hospital in Kearney. 16-year-old Scott Gates is listed as serious in Kearney as is 15-year-old Austin Reynolds.
Five students have been treated and released from area hospitals: 17-year-old Hunter Campbell, 17-year-old Marcus Miller, 16-year-old Taylor O’Brien, 15-year-old Lane Albus and 16-year-old Grayson Minnick.
Harvey thanked the community for the support it has given the family.
“The school system and everybody has been great,” Harvey said. “So, just keep praying and we’ll all get through this together.”
Julie Toline with KCNI/KBBN contributed to this report.
AUDIO: Broken Bow prayer service (edited for length) [4 min.]