A near head-on collision at the crest of a hill on gravel road claimed the life of a rural mail carrier Monday afternoon, Dec. 27. The Iowa State Patrol identified the victim as Thomas Joseph Lichter, 61, of Burt.
According to Trooper Doug Drost of the Iowa State Patrol's District Six Office in Spencer, the collision occurred at 12:53 p.m. Dec. 27 on 540 Avenue, six-tenths of a mile south of Palo Alto County Road B55 near Rodman. Thomas Joseph Lichter of Burt was driving a 1991 Buick Regal northbound on 540 Avenue, delivering mail for the United States Post Office in West Bend and was driving from the passenger side of the vehicle. At the same time, Mark Robert Besch, 45, of Rodman was southbound on 540 Avenue driving a 2003 Chevrolet Silverado pickup when the two vehicles met at the crest of a hill on the gravel road and collided nearly head-on.
Thomas Lichter was pronounced dead at the scene and Mark Besch was transported by ambulance to the Palo Alto County Hospital in Emmetsburg with what were termed non-incapacitating injuries. Both drivers were wearing seat belts at the time of the collision, according to the accident report.
The accident remains under investigation by the Iowa State Patrol with assistance from the Palo Alto County Sheriff's Office. Assisting at the accident scene were the Palo Alto County Sheriff's Office, West Bend and Emmetsburg Ambulance Services, Rodman Fire Department and the United States Postal Service, who recovered mail from the accident scene.