Everyone surely knows how dangerous trucking over ice is, but that’s exactly what makes History channel’s “Ice Road Truckers” so interesting. For 11 seasons, the show caught the attention of millions of people in the US and many other countries, by giving an insight into one of the most risky professions in America, such that the audience couldn’t help but start to care about the truckers’ lives on- and off- camera.
However, while it’s been a while since the show was ended in 2017, it hasn’t been easy to forget some of the accidents and misfortunes that surround some of the show’s former cast members’ lives, including the unfortunate deaths of some.
So take a seat as we resume the tragic real life endeavors of “Ice Road Truckers”, tell you who are no longer with us, and what has happened to those who are still on the road!
- 1 Who Have Died In “Ice Road Truckers”
- 2 Accidents On The Road
- 3 What Has Happened To The Other Truckers?
- 4 The Rest Of The Cast
- 5 How Dangerous Is Ice Road Trucking Actually?
Who Have Died In “Ice Road Truckers”
Accidents often happen on roads and highways covered by snow and ice, and while many of those are not fatal, deaths do happen from time to time.
However, the way that “Ice Road Truckers” fan-favorite driver Darrell Ward lost his life at 52 years of age didn’t happen on the road, making his death not only sad and unfortunate, but also unexpected.
The tragic incident occurred on 28 August 2016, when Darrell was piloting a Cessna 182 airplane on his way back from a trucking event in Texas to Missoula, where he was supposedly expected to start filming a documentary focused on airplanes. Although we don’t know much about said project, fate definitely had other plans for Darrell. He was killed when the airplane crashed while trying to land on a private airport near Rock Creek in Montana.
The cause of the terrible accident that also resulted in Darrell’s unknown co-pilot’s death, wasn’t completely cleared up in the report by the National Transportation Safety Board. As it was stated, no mechanical anomalies were found during the post-accident examination, and while it was determined that the airplane had taken a sudden turn when close to landing, it remains a mystery if it was due to weather conditions or something else. Whatever caused it, the loss was unimaginably sad for everyone who got to know Darrell, and above all, to his family.
What Happened To His Family?
Darrell Ward was the father of two adult children, and as you can expect, they were deeply saddened by his loss. In his daughter Terra’s case, she had been living in Kansas for a while at the time of her father’s death, but regardless of the distance, it seems that he was always a caring father and grandfather.
When it comes to Darrell’s son Reno, he was in his senior year at the University of Montana Western when he was hit by the terrible news: ‘It hasn’t sunk in yet what actually happened’, he expressed during an interview with Montana News at the time, clearly still in disbelief.
In the same interview, Reno expressed his desire to finish his last year of college to honor his dad, and while we didn’t expect him to continue his father’s legacy in the work field as well, that’s exactly what happened. A year after Darrell’s death, Reno made his debut in “Ice Road Truckers” by teaming up with Lisa Kelly to deliver a large load for Polar Industries. Fortunately his endeavor turned out well, but it was clearly an emotional rollercoaster for him and his family to take his dad’s place. Nonetheless, that episode will remain as one of the most memorable from the 11th season.
Probably this name doesn’t sound familiar to you, but Jordan Fedosoff was an assistant driver during the second season of “Ice Road Truckers”.
Not much is known about Jordan’s death, except for the fact he died after suffering several respiratory complications related to surgery in February 2020. His former fellow cast member Rick Yemm sent his condolences on a Facebook post, and Jordan’s family and friends even organized a memorial event in his honor.
Accidents On The Road
Although Darrell Ward and Jordan Fedosoff have been the only “Ice Road Truckers” cast members to have died so far, other truckers have also gone through terrible and life-threatening accidents in recent years. Some of them are:
Regardless of the fact that he only joined “Ice Road Truckers” in its seventh season, it’s hard to forget Todd Dewey for his straightforward behavior, and preference for delivering highly challenging loads.
Recently Todd was involved in a terrible accident when a car collided with his log truck in the early morning of 9 January 2019 in Washington State. Though Todd was fortunately uninjured, the crash resulted in the unfortunate death of the car’s driver, Stephen John Jacobson and his unidentified passenger, in addition to the total destruction of their automobile.
While it’s unknown if the accident resulted in any material loss on Todd’s side, it was stated that the victims’ family wouldn’t press charges against Todd or his company, as the crash was apparently unintentional from both parts.
Leaving that terrible incident behind, Todd Dewey’s life has luckily been going well during the last couple years. He has been attending both international and national trucking events, and is even involved with charity organisations.
Also known as Polar Bear, he was one of the longest-running truckers, starting from the first up to the ninth “Ice Road Truckers” seasons.
However, he left the show suddenly and for a good reason. As it turns out, in 2014 he sued the show for apparently ruining both his career and marital life, the product of an accident he blames solely on the show’s production.
The incident actually happened in 2013, when Hugh was in the passenger seat of a pick-up driven by Will Morrison, one of “Ice Road Truckers” producers. Following Hugh’s declarations, Morrison had been driving the automobile quite recklessly, resulting in a crash that left Hugh severely injured from the waist down. After receiving medical treatment, it turned out that he was unable to return to his job as a trucker, and just as terrible, his marital life was over as well.
It’s not clear how the lawsuit turned out, but we can assume he was compensated for the damage out-of-court.
To make sure, you couldn’t blame Polar Bear for thinking about the loss of intimacy as a reason for suing, as in recent years those types of lawsuits have been pretty common, and well compensated as well.
Since the accident, Hugh has maintained a low profile on social media, but its assumed that he’s still in charge of his trucking and construction companies, even if his days as a driver are now left behind.
This name surely doesn’t sound familiar to you, but that’s expected, as Brett Colley was never in “Ice Road Truckers”.
So you might be wondering why we’re now including him if he wasn’t a show’s cast member. The reason is that although he never appeared in it, Brett was greatly inspired by the show to become an ice road trucker. In his path to follow his life’s dream, he even moved out from England to North America.
While it’s unknown if Brett had any previous experience as a trucker, he apparently tried the US roads for a while before moving to Canada. However, fate wasn’t very kind to him, when on 13 November 2012, his truck left the Alaska Highway, in the Pink Mountain region, and as you might have already guessed, he lost his life in the terrible accident.
When interviewed by Business Insider, Brett’s sister Alex Fidoe affirmed that he had applied to appear in “Ice Road Truckers”, but was rejected by the show’s producers. He subsequently continued unsuccessfully trying to appear in it, until his unfortunate death.
What Has Happened To The Other Truckers?
You might remember Art Burke for appearing in “Ice Road Truckers” from the seventh season up to the show’s end in 2017, and for having a tough personality and determination that somehow always helped him on the road.
Unfortunately, Art hasn’t had good luck as of recently.
In late 2018, tragedy hit his door unexpectedly when he was involved in the explosion of an apartment in Yellowknife, Canada, that caused severe damage to the building’s structure, and left him severely injured. At first the police apparently didn’t report the case and it was determined that his identity would be hidden, but later the case attracted so much attention that the local media had no other option than to reveal he was the accident’s culprit, which was caused when he confessed to trying to make cannabis resin using butane.
Not only was Art found guilty of arson, but will also have to pay over $70,000 in damages to the apartment’s owners. However, despite pleading guilty in early 2020, his sentence hearing has been delayed several times since then.
In addition to the already bad-looking situation, Art has apparently lost his retirement savings in the process and won’t be able to return to the road for some time.
— Terri Marshall (@trippingwterri) January 16, 2020
He’s considered one of the most scandalous cast members of “Ice Road Truckers”. Although he left the show entirely after the sixth season’s end, his way of saying goodbye was quite memorable, as he straightforwardly expressed this dislike for the show during an interview with Huliq.com, stating that the way “Ice Road Truckers” made him look on screen was very different to what he really was.
Nowadays, you can find Rick very actively posting on his Facebook page. However, his days driving on the Alaskan icy roads came to an end in 2018, when he underwent shoulder surgery that left him unable to drive a truck anymore.
The Rest Of The Cast
Despite the very gloomy and sad things that have happened to some of the aforementioned “Ice Road Truckers”, not everything is bad news for the rest of the cast.
For starters, Dave Redmon’s life is good nowadays – though he no longer drives trucks, he’s well known in his community for doing charity work. If that sounds unbelievable considering his firing from the show was apparently caused by his bad attitude, please remember that Dave has affirmed that his real-life attitude is anything but rude.
When it comes to the fan favorite Lisa Kelly, life is looking good as well. Nowadays she continues driving trucks as much as she can, attends trucking events with regularity, and is still happily married.
In Jack Jesse’s case, he still often drives trucks, though there has been a noticeable change in his work routine since his wife Judy nowadays accompanies him on the road, while producing a web show based on his everyday life.
Last but not less, Alex Debogorski is still actively working not only as a driver but as a writer as well, which is something that makes the very expert driver quite happy.
If you want to keep updated on what he’s doing, you can find him on his very active Facebook page.
How Dangerous Is Ice Road Trucking Actually?
One of the things “Ice Road Truckers” is mainly known for, is for showing how dangerous and risky the icy roads of Canada and the US are, though it’s undeniable that this is also the reason the show is very negatively criticized, but why?
Seeing it from the perspective of someone who has never driven a very heavy load over an ice-covered road, or someone who has never even had any experience as a trucker, it’s undeniable that the work that the show’s drivers do looks impossibly complicated and dangerous. However, some real-life truckers consider that the seemingly-real experiences shown in “Ice Road Truckers” are inaccurate and probably too focused on the drama.
During an interview with the website ProCurious, the president of the Alaska-based company Ventures West Transportation, Glenn Bauer, affirmed that although the dangers of driving over ice are considerably high, the trucking businesses have reduced the risks by demanding truckers follow very strict security norms.
Although reducing the risks this way is the reason the fatality rates for this job are actually very low, it also means that the weather, the truckers’ own caution and ability are the deciding factors when it comes to delivering supplies and food safely to Alaska’s most remote regions. So whether or not what we see on screen is real, it’s certain that “Ice Road Truckers” was a very good source of entertainment, and that virtually all truckers depicted in the series are actually great at what they do.