OXBOW, N.D. — A 38-year-old father killed in a crash Friday, Aug. 9, near here will be deeply missed by friends and family, especially his 6-year-old son.
Christopher Bauer of Puposky, Minn., died at the scene of the crash about 2.5 miles south of Oxbow on County Road 81, according to the North Dakota Highway Patrol.
Bauer's mother, Tina Whetstone, told The Forum she was looking forward to her son and grandson, Parker, visiting her in Kansas over Labor Day weekend.
But now Whetstone will be heading north for Bauer's funeral.
"He was always there for me," she said. "Whenever I needed him, he would drop everything and be right there."
Whetstone said Bauer was her oldest son, born and raised in Blackduck, Minn., where he attended school.
"He had a lot of friends, high school friends and friends he grew up with," she said. "He was always the life of the party. If you'd ask any one of his friends, they'd say he was funny. You never knew what he was gonna do next."
Many of Bauer's friends were paying tribute to him online after hearing of the tragic crash.
Bauer was driving southbound in a Chevrolet Malibu when around 4:40 p.m., his vehicle went into the west ditch before re-entering the southbound lane and spinning into the northbound lane, the patrol reports.
He was T-boned on the passenger side by Ryan Ottis, 32, of Kindred, N.D., driving a 2002 Kenworth semi truck towing a hay baler.
The impact cut the Malibu in half, with the rear part of the vehicle coming to rest in the southbound lane, while the front of the vehicle was in the east ditch.
Both axles were sheared off the semi and sent the truck off the road, where it eventually came to rest in the east ditch, according to the patrol.
Ottis was taken in an ambulance to a hospital in Fargo. His condition is unknown and the crash remains under investigation.
Whetstone said Bauer recently moved to Minneapolis and was working with a construction company. She's not sure what her son was doing in the area Friday afternoon, though she guessed he was playing softball.
Bauer's cousin, Brett Mistic, said Bauer was in Fargo-Moorhead for a softball tournament.
Mistic said Bauer loved softball and was athletic in high school and after he graduated in 1999.
He described Bauer as charismatic, forgiving, upbeat and a jokster. "There was never a dull moment," Mistic said. "Everybody was friends with him. He could make anybody smile."
Bauer was always dancing and a talented singer, performing at weddings and funerals, he added.
Mistic said Bauer was more like a big brother to him and that Bauer was a great father to Parker.
"You can tell when you were around both of them how much they felt for each other," he said.
More than Bauer's love for sports or the outdoors, Whetstone said her son "loved his son to pieces."
"He was his main, main love," she said.
Funeral details are still being worked out, Whetstone said, but at this time a service is tentatively set for Monday, Aug. 19, at Blackduck High School.