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Officials believe weed control worker died after UTV rollover in Box Elder County

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Posted at 7:13 PM, Jun 21, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-23 19:30:55-04

PROMONTORY, Utah — Box Elder County officials believe two separate rollover crashes in off-road vehicles were what caused the death of one weed control worker and the hospitalization of another.

The county announced Tuesday evening that one seasonal worker was killed in an accident and another was seriously injured in another, but in stable condition.

They later gave an update, based on preliminary stages of the ongoing investigation, that they believe both accidents were rollovers while the workers were "operating UTVs in the course of their work."

The accidents occurred at worksites near Promontory. The Weed Control Department was spraying noxious weeds in open areas, county officials told FOX 13 News.

In an update later, Box Elder officials said more specifically, the workers were spraying "Rush Skeleton."

"The Weed Spraying Crew was working on spraying Rush Skeleton which is a noxious, invasive weed that destroys native plants and foliage in grazing areas," an update from officials reads. "The Rush Skeleton weeds have to be treated individually to avoid the herbicides causing damage to the beneficial plants."

In the first accident, one worker suffered a "serious injury" that was not specified. The individual was taken to the hospital and is in stable condition.

The second accident occurred immediately after the first, the county said. The victim, identified as 69-year-old William Dwaine Kossman, died at the scene.

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William Frenchy Kossman with wife Joy Kossman

Kossman, who was affectionately known as "Frenchy," started as a seasonal worker with Box Elder County in the spring of 2020.

His family said in a statement that Kossman will be extremely missed.

“We can’t come up with enough words to describe William Dwaine Kossman, affectionately known as Frenchy," family members said in a statement. "His hands were always full. Whether he was bringing you something, fixing something, or adding his personal touch. He will be extremely missed by all who knew him.”

Funeral services for Kossman are planned to take place in Honeyville on Monday, June 27, 2022.

Officials said the county is cooperating with Utah State Parks and the Utah Occupational Safety and Health Division as the agencies open an investigation.

“Our first concern is for the employees and their families. Our hearts are with them in the face of this terrible tragedy,” said Anne K. Hansen, a representative for Box Elder County.