BEATRICE - Icy conditions are to blame for a fatality accident on Highway 77 near the Pickrell corner Friday morning.

While speaking on K-W-B-E this morning Gage County Sheriff’s Deputy Doug Klaus says the accident occurred shortly before 6 A-M this morning…

“From preliminary information that we have here on the scene is that we had a northbound semi-tanker…appears to be a semi-propane tanker and there was a southbound pick-up that went to execute an eastbound turn and slid on the ice. The semi could not stop coming down the hill and crashed and as a result the driver of the pick-up is a fatality at this point”.

Nebraska State Patrol Spokesman Cody Thomas says the pickup involved was southbound on U.S. 77 and attempted to turn east at Pickrell Road.  The Chevrolet S-10 pickup spun out of control on the slick highway and went into the northbound lanes, where it was struck by a semi hauling propane.  Thomas said the pickup driver was ejected from his vehicle and died at the scene. He was identified as 21-year-old Ethan Thies, of Sterling.  Both the pickup and semi cab caught fire, but Thomas said the semi driver was able to escape the vehicle without injury.  

The propane trailer did not rupture and was not involved in the fire.  

The Pickrell Fire Department along with the Gage County Sheriff's office and the Nebraska State Patrol have been on the scene of the accident.

Law officers blocking U.S. 77, at west junction with Nebraska 41