ATA vice president dies in white water rafting accident

| 6/16/2006

Michael B. Russell, vice president of public affairs for the ATA, died Thursday, June 15, in a white water rafting accident in Colorado.

Russell and his wife, Rita, were in Colorado for a large family reunion at the time of the accident. According to a press release from the American Trucking Association, Russell fell from the raft on Clear Creek about 50 miles west of Denver.

There were extended efforts to resuscitate him and an emergency helicopter responded, but Russell was declared dead at the scene. Funeral details were still pending at press time Friday afternoon.

Having joined the ATA in 1999, Russell’s career in public relations also included serving as director of public and consumer affairs for the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration. Russell also worked on Vice President Al Gore’s National Performance Review and was press secretary for U.S. Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders.

Born in 1941, Russell was a graduate of Boston University and the Milton Hershey School.