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Accident claims life of local man

Friona firefighters, EMS, and sheriff's deputies were dispatched Sunday January 4 about 2:00 p.m. to the J.D. Heiskell Co. grain elevators west of Friona. A man was said to be trapped in a grain building filled with corn. The man had been walking on top of the corn stored in the building when it gave way, trapping him underneath.

Firemen and Heiskell employees worked feverishly to remove the corn from the building to try and recover the man. At least 18 Friona volunteer firemen worked from 2:00 p.m. until after midnight before recovering the body of 21-year-old Andrew Lopez of Friona. He was pronounced dead at the scene by Precinct 1 Justice of the Peace Jo Beth Gipson and transported by Blackwell-Mullins Funeral Home.

A winter storm that began Friday evening with sleet and freezing rain and continued into Saturday with 6-inches of snow, caused headaches for local law enforcement, EMS, and volunteer firemen over the weekend.

Several accidents were reported through the weekend including a one-vehicle rollover about 6:30 a.m. Monday morning on south Hwy 214 at Paco Feedyard. The female driver was ejected from the vehicle and transported to Parmer Medical Center by Friona EMS.

Local wreckers were kept busy during the weekend as vehicles slid into bar ditches or medians and had to be pulled out. A couple of vehicles were discovered upside down off the road on Hwy 60 but the drivers/passengers had left the scene without reporting the accident.

One Friona man, visiting friends with his wife, went out about 10:30 p.m. Saturday night to start their car, slipped on the icy driveway and suffered a severe broken ankle. Friona EMS took him to PMC and the following morning he was airlifted to an Amarillo hospital to undergo surgery.

All of our first responders and law enforcement officers deserve our thanks and gratitude for their service to the community, especially during the challenging times like the weekend's dangerous weather.