A former football player and new father was the victim of another western Kansas grain elevator tragedy Tuesday.
Former Garden City Community College football player Brett Spresser, 21, was killed in accident at the United Plains Ag Co-op in Weskan. Authorities said Spresser stepped through a hole in the top of the elevator and fell 50 to 60 feet into the bin filled about halfway with grain.
His final entry on Facebook, dated June 11 reads: “Love my baby girl Zuri! Cant wait to make it home with her!”
The accident occurred the day before the funeral of a Hutchinson Community College baseball player that was killed in grain elevator accident last week.
Banks, the HCC player, and Max Greve, a Fort Hays student that played baseball previous at Colby Community College, were killed when a wheat bin collapsed on them June 24 in Russell. The death triggered an outpouring of support for the family of the victims across central and western Kansas and in Nebraska where Greve was from.
Now, a fresh tragedy, sure to cause more tears and heartache, and when the time is right a call for much tighter safety regulations. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) investigators were gathering information about the first accident last week.
I just spoke to Garden City Athletic Director Bob Larson, who called the back-to-back accidents unbelievable.
Spresser, a Gem native, played his high school ball at Golden Plains before becoming an impact player with the Broncbusters. As a defensive tackle, Spresser had a team leading 4.5 sacks in 2007 and eight tackles for losses during his sophomore season. Spresser, a Metallica fan who put a Mark Twain quote on his page, signed with Fort Hays but eventually decided against playing football.
He married Nikki Welsh, who played basketball at Colby Community College, and the couple had a girl born just three weeks ago. Like everyone else, our thoughts and prayers go out to Welsh and Spresser’s other family members and friends.
Tony Adame, former Garden City Telegram sports editor now with the Wichita Eagle, had a great description of Spresser.
“He seemed almost painted off some old football serial novel from the 1950s – 6-foot-5 and almost 300 pounds but quick as a cat, dusty blonde hair and a mischievous look in his eye but a kind word for all who crossed his path. And man could he play,”.
Also, Mike Kessenger, who does a fine job covering sports for the Garden City Telegram, wrote a touching column, which includes:
“As much of a sense I was getting he didn’t feel like he needed to be interviewed, he stood there, gave a sly smile while waiting to answer and had a reply to everything that was asked.”