UPDATE: Community mourns tragic death in Rippey Wednesday

A pickup truck and ATV collided on a Rippey side street Wednesday, causing one death.

RIPPEY — Townspeople were shocked and saddened Wednesday after a local man was killed when the all-terrain vehicle he was driving struck another vehicle.

The Iowa State Patrol (ISP) released details Wednesday evening of the two-vehicle accident that occurred about 3 p.m. at the corner of Second and Howard streets.

According to the ISP report, the victim, Keith Lavern Devilbiss, 78, of Rippey, was traveling west on Howard Street and failed to yield the right of way at the uncontrolled intersection of Second Street.

Devilbiss’ ATV struck the front driver’s side of a Ford F-150 truck driven by Nicholas Carter Rice, 18, of Rippey. Rice was traveling south on Second Street at the time of the collision.

The Iowa State Patrol, Greene County Sheriff’s office, Rippey First Responders, Rippey Volunteer Fire Department and Greene County EMS responded to the scene.

The intersection of Second and Howard streets is on the west side of the hamlet of Rippey.
The intersection of Second and Howard streets is on the west side of the hamlet of Rippey.


    • Showing the body uncovered would be disrespectful. Photographing the accident scene is not just the prerogative but also the responsibility of a journalist. This is just an unpleasant practice you are not accustomed to. The news and the reporting of it is sometimes hard.

      • Yes, Mr. Eakins, there is a responsibility of the press and covering what is news, but there is a line that must never be crossed. And it may be true a journalistic line wasn’t crossed here, but an empathetic line was. The ability to report the news first and be on scene as quickly as possible has always been the drive or the meat and potatoes of news agencies but with the medium of the internet, the line normally used is too close when it comes to subjects such as this. You have the ability to pass on the information long before the family is informed. I strongly believe that this was just an error and the reporter is deeply sorry for the choice of angle of coverage photos. But, Mr. Eakins, as a reporter it is your duty in a case like this to always think of who your viewership is. Would you want to see your family member covered with a tarp dead in the street? In this case, the fault doesn’t completely lie with the reporter. The fault lies with those whose responsibility it was to keep the scene safe and keeping a bubble of safe zone that no one but emergency personnel enters.

        • I am not the reporter but with all due respect, I disagree with you 1,000 percent. This kind of practice is common everywhere except in smaller towns, which are just not accustomed to it. This may be a hard thing, but it’s part of our social contract pertaining to a free press.

          • Just because a practice is “common” doesn’t make it right. An entire community is reeling at the loss of a wonderful man. A family is heartbroken at the loss of a brother, a father, a grandfather. Publishing photographs of an accident scene is one thing. Publishing photographs where the deceased is the center of focus (which this reporter did, whether intentionally or no) is WRONG. As a photographer and a human being, I was greatly disturbed by the lack of empathy shown when this reporter first published this story. That is NOT simply reporting an accident. It IS a fine display of why so many people hate “ambulance chasers.”

  1. I knew Keith personally. He drank coffee at mine and my friend’s house several times. It’s a shock to know that Keith is gone.

  2. Anita, reporters could not do their work without chasing ambulances. Part of their work is photographing unpleasant and distressing scenes. People in metropolitan and inner city areas deal with tragedies like this all the time and, yes, they also endure the same pain as you. It isn’t that the press is insensitive to all this but beyond a certain point, journalists cannot do their work without sometimes reporting unpleasant facts. Here again, you are in a small community where such tragedies are infrequent. You are not accustomed to this. I’ll not post about this subject again. We’re just going to have to agree to disagree here. Stated simply, I’m not backing down one iota here.

  3. Nick Eakins: I beg to differ with you that “This kind of practice is common everywhere except in smaller towns, which are just not accustomed to it.” I live in a large metropolitan area, and photographs of accidents do not “commonly” include pictures of the deceased. This photograph as used in the story shows poor taste and disrespect to Keith and his family. A small change in the camera angle would have captured the scene without needing to see Keith covered with a tarp. As a previous writer wrote, “Just because a practice is ‘common’ doesn’t make it right.” This is not “common” and serves only to sensationalize a tragic situation. My heartfelt sympathies to the Devilbiss family.

  4. I am disturbed by the insensitivity of reporting this accident. The photo could have been adjusted to show concern for family and friends seeing it. I am his cousin in Oregon and just saw him the week before. It may be common or not in larger metro areas, but this is sensationalizing a tragic accident. Try to put yourself in our position and show empathy instead of defending actions. The world would be kinder if more people practiced this. It is sad this happened, and Keith will be forever missed and loved. Excuses come easy, but to admit an error takes courage. Just food for thought in the future. Thanks for listening.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.