Thursday, June 23, 2005

Killed Soldier's Brother Stepped Before Truck

The brother of a soldier killed in Iraq, Justin 'Paul' Byers, 19, of Schleswig, died Monday night after he was hit by a pickup truck when he walked out of ditch one mile west of Vail on U.S. Highway 30.

The Crawford County medical examiner announced the death was ruled a suicide on the same day Byers' family held a funeral for his brother, Sgt. Casey Byers. Casey Byers was killed in Iraq on June 11 when a bomb detonated under his armored Humvee.

Justin Byers, a member of the U.S. Army Reserve transportation company of Sac City, was also upset that his military unit was scheduled to leave for Iraq this fall, said Dr. Dennis Crabb, Crawford County medical examiner.

The circumstances at the scene of the accident led officials to conclude that Byers' death was an 'intentional act,' Crabb said. No alcohol was found at the scene, but a toxicology report wasn't yet available. A letter Byers wrote for his brother's funeral was read at the services by Casey Byers' brigade commander, Col. Tim Orr.

'If I could say anything to him, it would be 'Yes, Casey, I'm exactly like you and I stand here today proud to say it,'' Justin wrote. 'I will not cry for my brother because I know he would not want me or any of you to.'


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