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Town honors highway worker killed in crash

by Jane Flasch

Ask fellow workers about Lee Schutt and nearly everyone will include something about his concern for safety on the job.  "He was a good conscientious employee always looking out for safety," said his former boss Vern Hecker.  "It's an oddity that the person who was so safe ended up in an accident."

Schutt was killed while driving the highway department's red truck to Monroe County Tuesday to pick up parts to make some repairs to town machinery.  "He was extremely safety minded so to be taken in such a tragic way is extremely sad," said Supervisor Margaret Hilton.

Offices in the Town of Hopewell were closed Wednesday for employees to rally around Schutt's family.  He was a man who could do it all- drive big machinery- fix anything mechanically.  His death leaves a big hole in the highway department and in the hearts of workers there.

"He was just a good guy to have around.  He would watch your back constantly and everyone else's too," said Hecker, who also describes Schutt as his number two man for eight of the years they worked together. 

Schutt was driving the town vehicle on Route 96 in Farmington when a grain truck crossed over and flipped trying to avoid a wheel that came off another vehicle.  "Once that wheel struck that truck and it went underneath it, the driver of that truck lost control striking three other vehicles," said Undersheriff David Tillman.

"A complete shock," said Supervisor Hilton.  "It just happened so suddenly with him being at the wrong place at the wrong time."  She describes Schutt as a man dedicated to his family, including a new grandchild.

Town offices closed, the flag lowered to half-staff Wednesday.  It was a job Lee Schutt loved for 27 years - the job he will not return to.  "The Town of Hopewell was just so thankful to have had Lee employed with us for so many years," said Supervisor Hilton.  "It's a big loss to the Town of Hopewell, a huge loss."

 
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