By Kelsey Givens
A member of the Amargosa Valley Town Board was killed this weekend after he was reportedly ejected from his vehicle when it rolled over on U.S. 95 on Saturday.
Joseph DeLee, 57, of Amargosa Valley was pronounced dead at the scene by a Nye County Sheriff’s deputy about 9:30 p.m. after being thrown from his 1995 Chevy Camaro near mile marker 56 of the highway.
“It happened at 9 p.m. on 95 southbound at mile marker 56 Nye. The vehicle was traveling southbound, left the roadway edge, lost control and eventually overturned,” Trooper Jeremie Elliott with the Nevada Highway Patrol said. “The driver was thrown from the vehicle and was pronounced dead on scene by the coroner at 9:30 p.m.”
Both NHP and NCSO reported to the accident after receiving an initial report of a single vehicle accident around 9:13 p.m.
NHP conducted an investigation to determine why DeLee lost control of the Camaro and determined the cause of the accident to be failure to maintain travel lane, speed and possibly driving under the influence.
DeLee was the chairman of the Amargosa Town Board and an instrumental part in helping upgrade the local government from an advisory board to an elected town board. He had just been elected by the community to serve on the first elected town board and was waiting patiently to be seated in January.
His brother, Jon DeLee, said Joe was a strong, freedom oriented man who will be greatly missed by both his family and the community.
“Joe had a very strong personality, very independent. He was an ex-Marine. He served his country and he was active in the American Legion here, you know very freedom oriented. He really enjoyed serving his community on the town board; in fact, he was instrumental in transitioning from an advisory board to an elected board. And it’s really kind of unfortunate and ironic that this last November was the first election for the town of Amargosa board, and, of course, he won, but he won’t actually be seated because of his death and it’s really a shame because he had worked so hard for that,” he said. “His loss was definitely a shock and it will definitely be a loss to the community and a lot of people both here and a lot of friends he left in northern California when he moved down here.”
Board member-elect John Bosta said he will miss his good friend, but will always remember him for being a strong, courageous man who stood up for his community and was willing to help anyone at any time.
“I met Joe through going to the town board meetings and so on, and Joe and I became good friends. Friday evening he came over to my house and he was starting up a new Internet business, and I was going to have him change my service and I was going to take his Internet service, and that was Friday evening, and then I heard Sunday evening that he had been killed,” he said.
“Joe was basically one of the key people here in our community in terms of our new elected board … As the chairman, he was very instrumental in the business operation of our town elected board, so he’s going to be greatly missed.
“All of my dealings with Joe were outstanding and you know in life we all possibly have problems, but I don’t want to take away from his good character … It’s a big loss to our community, he was very interested in the community and seeing that the community was successful. He was a strong person in terms of helping reorganize the fire department and he was just starting up his new Internet business. Whenever something came up, Joe was always there willing to help. He was a strong person in his personal life, his business life and in the community and he will be greatly missed.”
Though they didn’t always agree, Vern Gilliland, vice chairman of the town advisory board, said the community is deeply saddened by Joe’s passing and has lost someone who always worked hard to help the town.
“Of course there is a tremendous amount of sadness, everyone’s talking about how much he will be missed, because he did spend so much time there. And there are a lot of deep feelings about it,” he said. “When he got behind something he got all the way behind it and he really pushed, especially if it was a benefit for the town.”
A memorial service will be held for Joe at the Amargosa Valley Community Center on Sunday at 2 p.m.
Gilliland said the town board will most likely discuss a way to honor Joe’s memory at their next meeting.