BEATRICE – Thayer County Attorney Dan Werner today said criminal charges will not be filed in the death of Norfolk country singer Abby Uecker, killed in a UTV rollover accident in July, at the Thayer County Fairgrounds in Deshler.
Werner said today the Nebraska State Patrol’s investigation of the July 23rd accident is completed. Uecker died of injuries after the UTV she was riding in with four others tipped over, pinning her beneath the machine’s roll bar. The machine was being driven by Jason Lienemann of North Platte, a pit crew member of a racing team. Two other pit crew members, a band member and Uecker were riding in the UTV, with Uecker sitting on the lap of a front seat passenger. Lienemann was driving the UTV at around 4:15 a.m., when the accident occurred.
:34 “Abby Uecker”
Werner told reporters at a Thayer County Courthouse news conference in Hebron, that no charges will be filed.
:14 “this decision”
Werner read a statement from Abby Uecker’s family, which said the family “fully respects and understands your decision not to proceed with criminal prosecution”. The statement read that “the circumstances of Abby’s death may be best dealt with in a context that does not involved criminal prosecution”. Attorney David Domina said in the written statement that the family will make no further comments.
Werner said he did not know if alcohol use factored into the accident, but he said alcohol had been used by the UTV driver earlier in the evening. He said the first officer responded to the accident at about 6:35 a.m., following a request from the hospital where Uecker had been taken. Investigators later contacted the driver of the UTV after he had returned to North Platte.
:14 “the driver”
Werner said witness statements did not appear to back up alcohol use, as a contributing factor in the accident. There was no blood-alcohol test taken.
:32 “at the performance”
Werner said if he had the ability to direct the investigation immediately after the accident, he would have investigated the blood-alcohol issue. But, he said he would have expected there would be almost no alcohol in the driver’s system at the time of the accident, based on the number of hours that passed since he drank. Werner also said the driver’s statement was not inconsistent with other witness accounts.
A security guard at the fairgrounds had noticed the tip-over of the UTV, and called 9-1-1. The driver and others in the vehicle lifted the vehicle off Uecker. She died at 5:38 a.m.
Werner said the UTV was overloaded, with five people in a vehicle designed for four. He said Uecker had apparently just met the pit crew members, that night.
:15 “the tip-over”
Werner said Uecker died of “severe blunt force head trauma”.