ANKENY, Iowa — A best friend is forever.
“Jared’s ability to connect with everybody was special. I just felt that special connection with him,” said Adam Rodgers who has known Jared Eklund since 4th grade.
When Rodgers received the call that Eklund was killed in a Dallas County crash nearly a lifetime of memories past and future came tumbling down. “It just has us reeling and almost doesn’t seem real,” said Rodgers.
Sunday afternoon, on June 12th the Iowa State Patrol says Jared was riding a motorcycle in the 2800 block of 360th Street near Van Meter when an SUV driven by 16-year-old Judah Noble crossed the center line striking Eklund head-on. “You just realize that you want answers but there are no answers. You can do everything right and tragedy still happens,” Rodgers said.
Devastated, Adam’s thoughts are now directed toward helping Jared’s wife Laura, and their two young children. Rodgers said, “His daughter turned 10 years old just a few days after the accident and the same week as Father’s Day. It’s been unbearable for the family and hard for all of us.”
A group called Central Iowa Metal Detectives provided a priceless gift — Jared’s wedding ring from the crash site that investigators could not find. “They went out voluntarily to look for the ring. One came as far away as Mason City so that is super impressive and they found the ring. It was such a big deal for Laura,” Rodgers said.
The Iowa Department of Transportation says as of Tuesday, 16 motorcyclists have been killed in Iowa crashes. An additional motorcyclist’s death was reported by Des Moines police following a crash Thursday night.
A roadside memorial shows Jared is more than a statistic. He was a lover of disc golf, a husband, father, brother, son, and friend. “He just left no stone unturned when it came to connecting with people regardless of beliefs or backgrounds,” said Rodgers.
Because of those traits, more tributes were found at Benchwarmers Bar and Grill in Ankeny where Jared was a Monday regular for trivia. Rodgers said, “They did a moment of silence for Jared and a tribute for him and a memorial fund for his family and that was unexpected.”
Through the pain, Adam has found a new perspective. “If you have a loved one or relationship you shouldn’t wait for tomorrow to let people know how you feel.”
The crash remains under investigation. Noble sustained critical injuries in the crash.
Rodgers has set up an online fundraiser with the Eklund family’s permission, you can donate here.