OOIDA member recovering at home after shooting

| 3/25/2002

OOIDA member Donald Turkelson is home recovering from a gunshot wound to his left thigh after a masked man accosted him in a trucking company drop-off lot March 19. He returned home Thursday evening to Byron Center, MI, outside Grand Rapids, after spending two days in a Gary, IN, hospital.

The incident occurred around 2 a.m. after Turkelson had dropped off an empty trailer and picked up a loaded trailer in KLLM's drop-off lot in Portage, IN. While sitting in his truck updating his logbook, Turkelson heard his trailer air line losing air. He got out of his truck to inspect the air line and discovered it was disconnected. As he reattached the line, a masked gunman bumped him and ordered Turkelson at gunpoint to get into the truck. As he followed the gunman's orders and got into his truck, Turkelson shut the door on the gunman, who managed to fire a shot at him before the door closed.

The 59-year-old retired Army chaplain and company driver for KLLM says his only request from the trucking community is for prayers.

"I'm very blessed to be alive," said Turkelson, who expects to be off the road for at least a month for recovery.

After being shot, Turkelson drove to the guard shack for help. He recalls being afraid the gunman would follow and shoot him and the guard. However, the gunman fled on foot and is still at large.

Turkelson's description of the gunman as a male approximately 5-foot, 7 or 8 inches tall with a medium build did not include the man's race because the mask made it impossible to see anything except the man's eyes. Police are asking anyone with information about the shooting to call Detective Sgt. Roger Getz at (219) 762-3122.