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Terveen v. South Dakota Department of Transportation

Supreme Court of South Dakota

March 4, 2015

AARON TERVEEN, Claimant and Appellant,
v.
SOUTH DAKOTA DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION, Employer and Appellee, and SOUTH DAKOTA WORKER'S COMPENSATION, Appellee

Considered on Briefs January 12, 2015

Page 776

APPEAL FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF THE SIXTH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT HUGHES COUNTY, SOUTH DAKOTA. THE HONORABLE MARK BARNETT, Judge.

Affirmed.

DANIEL E. ASHMORE, REBECCA L. MANN of Gunderson, Palmer, Nelson & Ashmore LLP, Rapid City, South Dakota, Attorneys for claimant and appellant.

ROBERT B. ANDERSON of May, Adam, Gerdes & Thompson LLP, Pierre, South Dakota, Attorneys for employer and appellees.

SEVERSON, Justice, ENG, Circuit Court Judge, and KONENKAMP, Retired Justice, concur. GERING, Circuit Court Judge, concurs in result. ENG, Circuit Court Judge, sitting for ZINTER, Justice, disqualified. GERING, Circuit Court Judge, sitting for WILBUR, Justice, disqualified. KERN, Justice, not having been a member of the Court at the time this action was assigned to the Court, did not participate.

OPINION

Page 777

GILBERTSON, Chief Justice.

[¶1] Aaron Terveen was on a business trip from Belle Fourche to Yankton, South Dakota. On the return trip, Terveen was injured in a car accident outside Belle Fourche while driving on a dead-end road just off the highway. Terveen applied for workers' compensation benefits. The Department of Labor granted Terveen's claim, but the circuit court reversed. We affirm.

Facts and Procedural History

[¶2] Terveen was an employee for the South Dakota Department of Transportation (DOT) working out of Belle Fourche. Terveen was a journey transportation technician, which required him to travel to various locations outside of Belle Fourche. Terveen usually checked in at the office when he returned from a work-related trip. There was no DOT policy prohibiting employees from making stops along their travel routes. DOT allowed its employees to engage in certain personal activities during their work-related trips, such as seeing family and friends and stopping at Cabela's for personal shopping.

[¶3] Terveen was returning from a work-related trip to Yankton on November 16, 2011. At 6:28 p.m., Terveen sent a text message to his wife telling her that he would meet her at dinner in fifteen minutes at the Belle Inn located across the road from the DOT shop. Before he could check into the DOT office, Terveen was injured in a one-automobile accident between 6:30 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. one-half mile away from the highway. At the time of the accident, Terveen was travelling eastward on Prairie Hills Road toward Highway 85--a highway to Belle Fourche. Prairie Hills Road is only accessible from Wood Road, which itself is accessible only from Highway 85. Driving from Highway 85 to Prairie Hills Road then back to the highway would take less than ten minutes. The site of the accident was approximately two-and-a-half miles from the DOT shop. Terveen has no recollection of the accident or why he turned onto Prairie Hills Road. Neither Terveen nor anyone else knows why he was at the location where the accident occurred.

[¶4] Along with his DOT job, Terveen occasionally worked for Tom Janklow by repossessing vehicles. Terveen spoke to Janklow at 5:48 p.m. before the accident. They did not discuss any aspect of the repossession business during this conversation. However, Terveen's personal Blackberry was recovered from his car after the accident, and it was on an internet website showing a repossession order for a vehicle located on Prairie Hills Road. To repossess the vehicle, Terveen would have required an order for repossession and a truck from Janklow's office, neither of which Terveen had at the time of the accident. No vehicles associated with the

Page 778

account Terveen accessed have been ...


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