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Hero Down: Fremont County Deputy Austin ‘Melvin’ Richardson Dies In Crash With Harvester Combine

Sidney, IA – Fremont County Sheriff’s Office (FCSO) Deputy Austin “Melvin” Richardson died in the line of duty on Tuesday after his patrol vehicle collided with a wide-load harvesting combine traveling in the opposite direction.

The 37-year-old deputy was traveling northbound on U.S. Highway 275 near 260th Street in a 2020 Chevrolet Tahoe when the crash occurred at approximately 12:35 p.m., the Des Moines Register reported.

According to the Iowa State Patrol (ISP), the large piece of farming machinery was wider than the southbound lane it was traveling in, so the front left tire of the combine was over the centerline and in the northbound lane.

Deputy Richardson, who was not wearing a seatbelt, collided with the harvester combine’s wheel, the Des Moines Register reported.

The veteran deputy suffered severe injuries in the crash and did not survive.

Fremont County Sheriff Kevin Aistrope said the fatal collision remains under investigation, according to the Des Moines Register.

Deputy Richardson began his law enforcement career on Dec. 17, 2007, when he joined the Auburn Police Department (APD) in Nebraska, according to his obituary.

Five years later, he joined the Sidney Police Department (SPD), and later transferred to the FCSO on Aug. 31, 2015.

Deputy Richardson was also a member of the Percival Fire and Rescue and the Sidney Fire and Rescue, according to his obituary.

He leaves behind his wife of nearly five years, Jennifer, and their young daughters, Everly, Cheyenne, and Bryxtol.

Deputy Richardson is also survived by his mother, siblings, in-laws, grandparents, nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles, cousins, and many friends and extended family members.

He was be laid to rest on June 18.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Fremont County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Austin “Melvin” Richardson, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.

Rest easy, hero. We’ll hold the line from here.

Written by
Holly Matkin

Holly is a former probation and parole officer who is married to a sheriff’s deputy. She is a regular contributor to Signature Montana magazine, and has written feature articles for Distinctly Montana magazine.

View all articles
Written by Holly Matkin

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