Hermosa, SD Two Auto And Van Crash, Jun 1986


Staff Writer.
In the wake of one of the worst highway accidents in South Dakota history, Rapid City's Indian community is rallying around a local family that lost seven members.
The fiery crash Friday night, involving two cars and a van pulling a sailboat, occurred on a small bridge two miles north of Hermosa on U.S. Highway 79 at 9:08 p.m., according to the South Dakota Highway Patrol.
Reports issued Monday said a northbound Cadillac driven by JOHN A. CRIDER, 33, Aurora, Colo., went off the roadway on the right shoulder, slid sideways, and traveled across the highway into the southbound lane.
CRIDER'S vehicle slid into the path of a Monte Carlo being driven by RANDOLPH DISMOUNTS THRICE, 25, Rapid City, and the two vehicles collided. Six other members of the DISMOUNTS THRICE family also were in the car. The van, carrying two Montana residents, was following DISMOUNTS THRICE'S vehicle and swerved to miss the two cars but hit one of them and then struck a guard rail, leaving both occupants with minor injuries.
Killed were CRIDER and seven member of the extended DISMOUNTS THRICE family: KATHERINE, 54; her sons, BENJAMIN, 29, and RANDOLPH, 25; BENJAMIN'S daughter, PATRICIA, 7; THERESA GREEN, 27; and RANDOLPH and THERESA'S daughters, JENNIFER DISMOUNTS THRICE, 6, and KATERI DISMOUNTS THRICE, 22 months.
Residents of Lakota Homes, the north Rapid City subdivision in which the family lived, were doing what they could Monday to aid and comfort surviving family members, including Seth Dismounts Thrice, Sr., and his two sons, Lennie of Huron and Seth, Jr. of Rapid City. Seth Dismounts Thrice, Sr., who was traveling in another vehicle ahead of his family, lost his wife, two sons and three grandchildren in the accident.
"Quite a few people are helping with food and just by being there," said Dolly Red Elk, who lives next door to the family on Wambil Drive. Red Elk said she didn't sleep much Sunday night.
"It's just so hard to accept," she said, hands covering her tear-filled eyes.
The Dismounts Thrice family stopped at Wendy's, a north Rapid City convenience store, before they left Friday on what would have been a family outing in Denver. A short time later, the tragic accident occurred.
"Everyone who comes in here make a comment about it," said Kim Durant, whose father owns the store. "They feel very bad."
Durant said customers have bee "very sympathetic - not just those who live in Lakota Homes, but from Box Elder and (Mall Ridge) as well."
Durant said members of the Lakota community have begun taking a collection to help the family defray the costs of funeral expenses.
She said donations could be sent to Wendy's, Box 2979, Rapid City, SD 57709, and she would make sure they are given to the family.
Pennington County Coroner Jerry Moore said Monday that results of routine blood tests taken from the victims were unavailable. A state Highway Patrol spokesman said results of blood alcohol tests were not expected until later in the week.
A 750 milliliter bottle of whiskey was found in CRIDER'S vehicle with approximately one inch of liquid remaining in it, reports stated.
A witness reported that the Monte Carlo, owned by Green, was traveling about 55 mph at the time of the accident.
"It appears the driver, CRIDER, died from fire," Moore said. "It appears that the other people in the Monte Carlo were mostly trauma-related."
Efforts by other motorists to rescue the victims following the collision were hampered by the extreme heat and fire that engulfed the vehicles following the collision, Moore said.

Rapid City Journal South Dakota 1986-06-30