Mayor of Hallock killed in traffic accident

(AP) - The mayor and former fire chief of Hallock was killed when he lost control of his pickup truck on state Highway 175 and the truck rolled into the ditch about two miles west of town, the Minnesota State Patrol said.

Kim Turner, 51, was killed in the accident about 8:30 p.m. Sunday, authorities said.

Turner was elected mayor in 2004. Before that, he served about a dozen years as the fire chief for the city's volunteer Fire Department. His term as mayor was due to expire next year.

Turner also managed Hallock's Cooperative Farmers Elevator and coached Park Board youth hockey.

"I just respected the way he managed his personal life and his business and the way he gave to the community," said Jim Johnson, a family friend and Hallock's mayor from 1993 to 2004.

He said he recruited Turner to run for mayor when he knew he wasn't going to run again.

"I thought that he would be a better mayor than I was," Johnson said.

The small town of about 1,200 people about 80 miles northeast of Grand Forks, N.D, had more than its share of troubles during Turner's tenure.

He worked on the recovery effort after a tornado hit Hallock's south side in 1995, and he was instrumental in the response to the 1997 flood and sleet storm. But observers said it was the next tragedy that was hardest on Turner.

He led the volunteer searchers for Julie Holmquist, a teenager who went missing and whose body wasn't found until weeks later.

Hank Noel, a longtime city clerk-treasurer in Hallock, said, "They would have taken all those other things twice compared to what the Julie Holmquist search did to all those firemen and to Kim."

Noel described Turner has having a commanding presence. "He was a do-er and they really respected him. He's like losing 10 people to this town," he said.

Noel said City Council member Paul Clay, who has served as the city's acting mayor in the past when Turner was out of town, would probably be the temporary mayor.

Turner is survived by his wife, Kathi, and four children.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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