ECKELSON, N.D. — Two brothers killed minutes apart in separate four-wheeler crashes are being remembered as men who did everything they could to help others — including each other.
A funeral Mass will be held Friday, Sept. 13, in Sanborn for the brothers. The two men died in all-terrain vehicle crashes Friday evening, Sept. 6, near Eckelson, according to the North Dakota Highway Patrol.
“It about took my breath away, ” Joe Pesek, a Spiritwood farmer who employed Jeremie Foster during harvest season, said of when he heard the news. “I’m just beside myself.”
Family have gathered in Sanborn, the brothers' hometown, to remember the men who shared a bond stronger than brotherhood, according to Kyle Foster’s daughter, Jade. They made time to visit each other at least once a year, she said.
“They were best friends. They were each other's rock,” she said.
- Canadian man identified in fatal motorcycle crash in western North Dakota
- Canton, Minn., man sentenced in Amish buggy crash death
Their deaths are under investigation, but state troopers said the two were driving 2014 Arctic Cat ATVs to a farm when Kyle Foster, who was visiting from Tucson, Ariz., lost control of his ATV around 7:30 p.m. Friday about 6 miles northeast of Eckelson.
Jeremie Foster made it to the farm, but he turned back to look for his brother, troopers said. He found Kyle Foster in a slough, dragged him out onto a rock and was driving back to get help when he lost control of his four-wheeler, their sister Morgan Foster told The Forum Tuesday.
Jeremie Foster’s clothes were wet when he was found about a mile from his brother, and it’s likely he couldn’t use a phone to call for help because of water damage, she said.
“We think he was in such a blind panic and shock that he just took off on the four-wheeler to get help," Morgan Foster said.
Both men died at the scene, the family said. Neither was wearing a helmet, and alcohol was a factor in both crashes, state troopers said.
Jeremie Foster’s girlfriend, Shawn Perez, acknowledged the brothers had been drinking in Sanborn before the crash, but they didn’t appear intoxicated. She and Pesek offered to give them a ride before they left a bar in the town, which is about 5 miles from where Kyle Foster crashed.
“They didn’t have slurred speech. They were walking straight,” she said.
A dip in the road, loose gravel and dust kicked up by a vehicle in front of Kyle Foster likely played a role in his crash, family said. They also said Jeremie Foster was trying to avoid an oncoming vehicle when he crashed.
The Highway Patrol did not return a message left by The Forum on Tuesday.
Friends and family said the two brothers shared similar qualities: They each had a sense of humor, a caring heart and helped others in need.
“He would do anything to help anyone, and he was just full of life,” said Kelsey Quick of Valley City, a close friend of Jeremie Foster. “He was just a dear friend and a best friend, almost as close as you can get to having a second brother.”
Jeremie Foster worked different jobs throughout the years, according to his obituary, but spent the last decade working for Solid Comfort, a Fargo-based manufacturer of hotel furniture.
He saved vacation time so he could work during harvest season for Pesek. “He loves to be out in the field working the ground,” Pesek said of Jeremie Foster, recalling how the Fargo man was meticulous in making sure every row was straight.
Kyle Foster served seven years in the Air Force, according to his obituary. He worked in the information technology division at the University of Arizona.
“He’d always go out of his way for people,” Jade Foster said. “He was an amazing father. He was always there when I needed him.”
Jade Foster went to the spot where her father was found to paint a memorial on the rock, and family wants to place a marker where Jeremie Foster died, she said.
Losing Jeremie and Kyle Foster has been hard, but family and friends have been sharing memories of the men to help comfort each other, Perez said.
“We take comfort in knowing that they are together,” Morgan Foster said. “We’re thankful that they’re together, that they didn’t suffer and we know where they are at.”