Lincoln County Sheriff's Department
At 1:00 AM on 2-9-24, Lincoln County Deputies were dispatched to a 1 vehicle accident, 1 mile north and 1 mile east of Sutherland on a county road. When deputies arrived, they found that a passenger of the vehicle was being treated by rescue personnel. The driver of the vehicle was partially ejected from the vehicle and was deceased.
It was determined that the vehicle, a 2003 Dodge Ram, had been eastbound at an apparent high rate of speed. When it crossed a railroad track, the driver lost control of the vehicle. It slid sideways into the ditch and rolled 2 ½ times. The driver of the vehicle was 33-year-old, Philippus Jacobus Van Der Merwe, a resident of rural Lincoln County. The passenger was 33-year-old, Dirk Hetzel, his roommate.
He admitted that they were both very intoxicated and that Philippus was driving very erratically. Mr. Hetzel was transported to the hospital. He is being treated for cuts to his face and his hands, a possible broken neck and a punctured lung. Next of kin in South Africa have been notified.