Sheriff Overman: "You've got to wear your seat belt. But we cant - Scottsbluff Area News, Sports, and Weather

Sheriff Overman: "You've got to wear your seat belt. But we cant make people do it, I wish we could."

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A Morrill man has died following a two-vehicle accident on a rural county road Monday evening.

Authorities say 35-year-old Joshua Smith and 20-year-old Joseph Cline collided in the intersection of County Road 12 and B just before 6 p.m. Monday. 

Smith was ejected from the vehicle and was later pronounced dead at the hospital.

Cline suffered minor injuries and was transported to Regional West Medical Center.

Authorities say alcohol is not suspected as a factor in the crash, but neither driver was wearing a seatbelt at the time of the accident.

"The worst part of this job is dealing with fatalities," said Scotts Bluff County Sheriff Mark Overman. "We preach it, and its the law, you've got to wear your seat belt. But we cant make people do it, I wish we could."

"A vast majority of the fatal accidents that we have here, someone is not wearing a seat belt, and in almost all of those instances, we believe, that that person would have survived."

Investigators determined the accident happened as both vehicles approached the uncontrolled intersection at the same time and collided.

Robert Bennett, Scotts Bluff County Highway Supervisor, says there are many intersections on rural gravel roads that are unmarked.

"That's because you have plenty of visibility and they're usually not a problem unless you have tall corn or something like that," he said.

"Whoever get to the intersection first usually has the right of way, Bennett says. "If you're at one of those open intersections, hopefully you see each other. Whoever is closest, you let them go through and the other person should slow down."

There are 970 miles of county roads in Scotts Bluff County, 810 of which are gravel, and 160 miles of asphalt.

Bennett says there are many hazards on county roads and drivers should take caution.

"You can lose control very easily. Anytime you apply the brakes you're going to lose traction on a gravel road."

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