News From Terre Haute, Indiana

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October 31, 2013

Friend opens memorial fund, plans benefit for 3 killed in pickup-train collision

TERRE HAUTE — A friend of three people killed in an Oct. 23 pickup-train collision in northeastern Vigo County has established a bank account for the victims’ survivors.

Travis Branson, who was friends with the victims, has set up a memorial fund at First Financial Bank. Funds raised will be used to establish a college trust fund for the children. Branson also is working on having a benefit dinner, with proceeds to go to the fund.

The accident victims were Brian J. Rickard, 30, of Terre Haute; Ryan Lee Cook, 24, of Terre Haute; and Ashlee T. Pugh, 20, of Dennison, Ill. (See today’s obituary for Pugh)

Rickard leaves behind two sons, Matthew and Dawson; Cook is survived by a daughter, Rylee; and Pugh has a younger brother, Douglas.

Donations can be made at any FFB branch to the “Brian, Ryan and Ashlee Memorial Fund.” Donations also can be sent to First Financial Bank, 1800 E. Fort Harrison Road, Terre Haute, IN 47805.

Branson said he was best friends with Cook since they were 4 years old and they attended Terre Haute South Vigo High School together. Both of them were friends with Rickard, a North Vigo graduate and avid gamer.

Rickard was well known in the gaming community and was a YouTube commentator. His gamer name was Yoteslaya. His YouTube channel was known for its “Let’s Play” videos from popular gaming titles like “Call of Duty” and “Borderlands 2.”

Branson said he, Rickard and Cook went fishing, hunting and riding four-wheelers together. “They lived life to the fullest,” Branson said. Cook had worked at the Carlisle Correctional Facility.

Pugh was employed by Blackburn Collision.

Those wanting to help Branson with the benefit dinner can contact him at 812-201-5482. He also can be found on Facebook, and his email address is djtcutz@gmail.com.

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