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2 killed in bellevue when tow truck crashes into stopped cars, police say "ne"


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Two people who were killed when a tow truck crashed into two vehicles stopped along the Kennedy Freeway were recalled Friday evening by friends as selfless and joyful.

Khalil S. Jones, 19, and Shamus D. Dean, 47, died and two other people were critically injured early Friday in Bellevue, police said.

Jones was an airman from Daytona Beach, Florida, who was stationed at Offutt Air Force Base. Dean is from Papillion.

 

“A real tragedy like this is felt by everybody at Offutt,” base spokesman Drew Nystrom said.

The crash occurred about 3:10 a.m. on the edge of the freeway’s southbound lanes at the Chandler Road exit.

Jones’ Pontiac G6 had stalled along the road, police said. Two passengers were inside. Dean had pulled over in his Chevrolet truck to help.

Police said an AR Towing tow truck driven erratically by James S. Helbert, 57, of Bellevue crashed into the Pontiac and Chevrolet.

Helbert was not injured.

Jones and Dean were pronounced dead at the scene.

The Pontiac’s passengers, Tyquan M. Petty, 18, and a 15-year-old girl, were in critical condition at the Nebraska Medical Center.

Police did not release the girl’s name but said the passengers live in Omaha.

Police did not say whether Jones and Dean were inside or outside the vehicles when the accident occurred.

Police also said they had not determined Friday evening whether alcohol or drugs were factors in the crash.

Other than saying that the company was praying for everyone involved, a representative of AR Towing declined to comment Friday afternoon.

Helbert pleaded guilty and paid a $100 fine last month after he was convicted of careless driving early Nov. 21 in Bellevue. He was also convicted in July 2016 of speeding 11-15 mph on the Interstate.

The southbound lanes of the Kennedy Freeway were closed at Q Street until about 8 a.m. while authorities investigated.

Jones’ friend Griffin Sullivan said he was with the airman and others hours before the crash.

They were hanging out at a house, “enjoying each other’s company, watching YouTube videos, listening to music and making summer plans,” Sullivan said.

 

“The last night that he was alive was a great night for him,” he said.

All of Jones’ friends were stunned, Sullivan said.

“It’s a total tragedy. ... He was a great guy and loved to help others, which is why he was in the Air Force.”

Dean’s friends expressed similar sentiments Friday evening.

Andrew Gearan grew up with Dean and went to Platteview High School with him.

“A lot of people are going to miss him,” Gearan said.

Dean, who leaves behind a teenage son and daughter, was fun to be around and tried to make others happy, even at the expense of his own happiness, Gearan said.

“I was one of the first of our friends to find out,” he said. “As I made phone calls to people that we knew and I told them what I knew, that he stopped along the road to help somebody, the first thing out of all of their mouths was ‘That sounds like Shamus.’ ”

 

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