Tyndall community mourning loss of Johnson family
TYNDALL — Zach Johnson was a well-liked student who loved competing in wrestling, Bon Homme Superintendent Mike Elsberry said.
Johnson, 16, and his parents, Dan and Tina Johnson, were killed Saturday morning in a car vs. semi crash on South Dakota Highway 37, about four miles south of Parkston.
The Bon Homme School District held a staff meeting Monday morning and then an assembly with students to cope with the loss of the Tyndall family, including Zach, who was a freshman at Bon Homme. Elsberry said there are six counselors at the school who will be available until at least Wednesday.
“It’s just tragic,” Elsberry said. “Zach was a great kid and good student. He was liked by everyone. There was a lot of emotion this morning, not just the freshmen class, but from the middle school all the way through the senior class.”
The family was headed to a regional youth wrestling tournament in Mitchell. Zach qualified to the state high school wrestling tournament at 145 pounds last month.
The 2006 Chevrolet Impala the Johnsons were traveling in hit a patch of ice, went across the centerline of the road and collided with a semi truck, according to the South Dakota Department of Public Safety.
All three people were wearing seat belts and were pronounced dead at the scene, officials said. The male semi-truck driver, 77, was not injured and was wearing his seat belt. The crash occurred at about 7 a.m. Saturday, near the intersection of 281st Street.
Both the visitation and funeral will be held at the Tyndall School gymnasium. The visitation is from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday, and the funeral is at 10 a.m. Saturday.
Gary Kortan, Bon Homme’s high school baseball coach and business manager for the school district, said he got to know Zach on the athletic field.
“He was a quiet kid who always did everything we asked of him,” Kortan said. “We’re going to greatly miss him.”
“This fundraiser is for the two older sons of Dan and Tina to hopefully pay for some of the funeral arrangements and to help with future expenses,” the page said. As of Monday afternoon, $8,455 of a $10,000 goal was raised.
The South Dakota Department of Public Safety, which has not released the names of the people involved, said a 49-year-old male and 48-year-old female died in the crash.
Dan Johnson worked at Manitou in Yankton and Tina Johnson worked at Applied Engineering in Yankton. Kortan called them “very active” in the community.
“They did a lot for the booster organizations,” he said.
Their other two sons, Derrick, 26, and Jason, 23, are both graduates of Bon Homme School District.