Challis resident Conner Hanenburg, 23, died in a car crash on U.S. Highway 93 at about 2:30 a.m. Friday, Oct. 8.
According to the incident report prepared by Custer County Sheriff’s Deputy Joel Peterson, Hanenburg had been drinking alcohol before heading south from Challis. North Custer Rural Firefighter Doug Hammond, who was part of the response team, said the accident occurred just past the intersection of U.S. 93 and Idaho Highway 75. Road conditions were not a factor, according to Hammond, who said the highway was clear of physical and visual obstacles.
Driving a 2004 Ford F250, Hanenburg lost control of the pickup and it spun 180 degrees, according to the report. Facing north as the pickup slid off the eastside embankment, Peterson reported that Hanenburg’s skid marks showed the right front tire collided with a cement irrigation culvert, which caused the auto to roll toward the passenger side.
As the pickup rolled, it hit a fence and Hanenburg was ejected. Two hours later, Hammond said someone saw the skid marks, followed them to the accident and reported it.
Richard Braswell was driving to work at about 4:30 a.m. when he noticed the skid marks and a large rock on the road that had been kicked up from Hanenburg’s crash. Although he initially drove past the spot where the vehicle had gone off the road, Braswell decided to turn around and move the rock out of the way of other drivers. When he got to the rock, Braswell said his headlights fell on Hanenburg’s truck. He connected the skid marks to the accident and realized what had occurred and called the Sheriff’s Office.
The pickup was upright and Hanenburg was about 20 feet from it when Hammond arrived, he said. Firefighters were at the scene for about an hour, Hammond said. They removed the battery from the pickup as a precaution, he said, and waited for the county coroner to arrive.
A volunteer firefighter for 40-plus years, Hammond said he tries not to dwell on incidents like this. It’s easier to file away the memory and let it blend with the others, he said.
Braswell, who lives in Challis, said he didn’t know Hanenburg well, but said he and his wife know Hanenburg’s girlfriend. Incidents like this are always sad, Braswell said, but more so when there’s a connection to the person involved in the crash.