Published December 03, 2008, 12:00 AM

Crash in Wisconsin kills hunting buddies

Two men from the Douglas County area died after their truck hit a bridge guardrail and plunged into a creek in northwest Wisconsin Sunday morning. Richard "Rick" Klimek, 38, of Lowry and his nephew, Matthew Baumann, 27, of Alexandria were pronounced dead at the scene.

By: Al Edenloff, Alexandria Echo Press

Two men from the Douglas County area died after their truck hit a bridge guardrail and plunged into a creek in northwest Wisconsin Sunday morning.

Richard "Rick" Klimek, 38, of Lowry and his nephew, Matthew Baumann, 27, of Alexandria were pronounced dead at the scene.

According to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, Klimek was driving a 2001 GMC truck registered to Klimek Brothers Well Drilling of Alexandria when he failed to negotiate a curve and struck the bridge guardrail, causing the truck to overturn and land upside down in Fox Creek, north of Amery, Wisconsin.

The accident, although reported at 7:53 a.m., is believed to have happened several hours earlier and remains under investigation.

The men were in Wisconsin on a deer hunting trip and were driving back to their cabin when the crash happened, according to loved ones.

They not only hunted together. They worked together at Klimek Well Drilling.

Klimek owned the business, along with his brother, Don Klimek, while Baumann was a serviceman for the company for six years.

The Klimek brothers also own Advanced Irrigation in Alexandria.

Klimek was deeply committed to both businesses, according to Don. “You couldn’t find a better business partner,” Don said. “He took care of his customers no matter what time of the day or night…He did a million things.”

The two built Klimek Well Drilling from nothing back in 1996 into a successful business with seven employees.

Klimek, and his wife for 16 years, Jennifer, have two children – Haley and Derek.

Don described his brother as hard working, kind-hearted but direct and stern when he needed to be. “He’d tell you like it was,” he said.

Besides deer hunting, Klimek also enjoyed golfing, fishing, pheasant hunting, bowling, coaching youth baseball and riding his Harley Davidson.

He was also a big fan of the Dallas Cowboys – so much so that he and his brother selected the team’s blue and silver colors for their well drilling logo. “It represented a winning team,” Don said.

He was a member of Pheasants Forever in Glenwood and the Minnesota Deer Hunters Association.

He was active in St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Lowry, serving on the church council.

Klimek, a 1988 graduate of Brandon High School, earned many awards and certifications over the years for his work in the drilling and irrigation business. He was a member of the National Ground Water Association and treasurer for the Minnesota Water Well Association. At age 18, he earned the Quality Plus Award from the Alexandria Area Quality Council.

Baumann, according to those who knew him best, deeply enjoyed spending time with his two children, Nathan and Karlee, and his wife of seven years, Brandee. “To sum it up, his life was his family,” loved ones told the newspaper.

Baumann graduated from Jefferson High School in Alexandria in 1999.

He loved the outdoors and was an avid hunter and fisherman. He was a member of the Leaf Valley Sportsmen’s Club.

Funeral services

A joint funeral service will take place this Friday, December 5 at 10:30 a.m. at the Lake Geneva Christian Center in Alexandria with Father Al Ludwig and Pastor Elaine Leone officiating.

Visitation for Klimek and Baumann will take place Thursday, December 4 from 4 to 7 p.m. at Anderson Funeral Home and one hour prior to the service on Friday at Lake Geneva Christian Center.

Arrangements are with Anderson Funeral Home.

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