NSP: 70-year-old motorist-assist volunteer killed in roadside crash on JFK Freeway

Nebraska State Patrol and NDOT give an update on the crash on the JFK Freeway that left a...
Nebraska State Patrol and NDOT give an update on the crash on the JFK Freeway that left a motorist-assist volunteer dead on Thursday, July 30, 2020.(WOWT)
Published: Jul. 30, 2020 at 2:29 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 30, 2020 at 5:08 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Authorities closed southbound Highway 75 at Q Street on Thursday afternoon to respond to a fatality on the JFK Freeway.

According to an update from the Nebraska State Patrol, the motorist-assist fatality happened at 1:28 p.m. north of Chandler Road.

John Holcomb, 70, a volunteer with the motorist assist program was struck and killed by a vehicle while performing his duties as a volunteer, according to an update from NSP Col. John A. Bolduc.

Holcomb had served as a volunteer with the Metro Area Motorist Assist Program since 2014, logging thousands of hours in volunteer service, Bolduc said.

“This is a tragedy that impacts not only the MAPA volunteers but the Nebraska State Patrol family and the Omaha community where John and his family reside, and all of the motorists who are assisted by this very valuable program,” he said.

In coming days, more information will be shared about the accident, Bolduc said.

“Our hearts go out to John’s family and his friends,” he said.

Bolduc said most details were still under investigation, but he did say Holcomb was working to remove debris from the roadway when the crash happened.

Normally, these crews are deployed in pairs, spread out across the state, in the Omaha, Lincoln, and Grand Island-Kearney areas, he said.

“John was out there helping us help you, help the public, clear the roadways, be a safety beacon for those people who may be broke down or help debris off the roadway,” said Tim Weander of the Nebraska Department of Transportation.

Omaha Police were advising drivers to avoid the area Thursday afternoon and exit further north if possible, noting on Twitter at 2:14 p.m. that F, L, and Q streets were “very busy due to diverted traffic.”

Nebraska State Patrol tweeted concern for a motorist-assist volunteer in a retweet about the accident scene: “Remember to always move over a lane and slow your speeds for these selfless volunteers,” the tweet states.

OPD is investigating the crash.

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