MENDON — A Mendon man was fatally injured during the early afternoon hours of Thursday, July 13, during a traffic accident at a truck stop in Knoxville, Tennessee. Robert Edlund, 57, and his son Jacob Edlund worked together as team drivers for a FedEx subcontractor and had reportedly stopped at the rest area to switch drivers during an over-the-road trip.
According to an account by another of Edlund’s sons, Alan Edlund, Robert was washing the windshield of his truck when the driver of an adjacent truck pulled forward. Alan said his father was pinched between the cab of his own truck and the trailer of the second truck and then fell to the ground.
Alan said he believes the driver of the second truck didn’t see them because he was positioned ahead of them in the lot.
“Maybe they were just in his blind spot or something, but he came out and swung a certain way without really being aware that their truck was there,” Alan said.
Upon witnessing the accident, Alan said Jacob jumped from the cab of the truck to find his father still conscious but badly injured.
“He said a few things. He was a lighthearted guy, and he actually joked with my brother for a second,” said Alan, “but then he said, ‘You know, I think I’m dying. I guess I’m going to die.’ So he knew he was going to die, but to help my brother feel better, he said something to him, and then he told my brother to tell my mom that he loved her. That was just a great example to me of my dad’s thoughtfulness.”
After paramedics arrived on the scene, Alan said his father was transported to the hospital by ambulance, but succumbed to his injuries about 15 minutes after entering the operating room. Alan said his father had always had a high pain tolerance and was a “real champ.”
“I guess he was conscious for most of that time while they went to the operating room, but he had too much internal bleeding and so he passed away shortly after getting to the hospital,” Alan said.
Alan said his father’s body will be returned to Cache Valley Monday afternoon, after having been held in Knoxville since the accident for the donation of several organs and for the completion of a medical examiner’s report. Jacob has remained in Tennessee to facilitate the organ donations and coordinate the interstate transport of his father’s body. He will return to his Mendon home on Tuesday.
Alan said the entire family is grateful for the outpouring of love and support being shown them during this difficult time.
“We appreciate all the prayers and concern on our behalf,” Alan said. “There’s been a lot of people who have reached out to us, even people I went to high school with and friends of all of us kids who don’t know our parents but know us. Because of our relationship with them, they feel a kindship toward helping our parents, and that’s directly a result of my parents’ good example.”
Alan said his mother is in awe over the amount of support she’s received and would like to express her gratitude as well. At the same time, he said she appreciates consideration of her privacy as she grieves and takes solace in quiet alone time to process the loss of her husband.
“You don’t think it’s going to happen to you, but then it does,” Alan said, “and you kind of need some of that alone time to really take that in and be okay with that.”
Robert leaves behind his wife, Elissa, ten children and nine grandchildren. According to information shared by his son, Chet, in a <a href=”https://www.gofundme.com/robertedlund”>GoFundMe</a> campaign, three children are still at home, and the family is of modest means.
“We are unsure what our 60 year old mom will do at this time,” the GoFundMe story reads. “Our parents have no retirement or life insurance. With three children still at home (ages 15, 16, and 17) our mother will need to get a job and the older children will need to help as much as possible.”
Alan said his father lived a life of service and taught his children to work hard to benefit others. His obituary reads, “Robert was gifted with the ability to serve others. He dedicated his life by giving of his time even when he had very little…He was often the first to help at service projects and one of the last to leave. Robert didn’t have much, but he was always willing to share what he had.”
Services for Robert Edlund are being coordinated under the direction of <a href=”http://www.nelsonfuneralhome.com/”>Nelson Funeral Home</a>, with the funeral scheduled to take place at an LDS meetinghouse in Mendon on Friday, July 21, at noon. (The specific location is yet to be finalized.) Prior to funeral services, friends may pay respects to the family on Thursday from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. during a viewing at Nelson Funeral Home (162 E. 400 N. in Logan) and also at the meetinghouse at 10 a.m. on Friday.