Remembering a genuine American — Yellow Freight driver Karl Krueger

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It is with sadness that I that I relay news reports that confirm the death of a true American â€” Karl Krueger of Sioux Falls, S.D. (pictured), a union driver for Yellow Freight who made his mark on the trucking world and general public with a campaign for the presidency of the United States. A five-rig crash near the end of a construction zone on I-29 in Western Iowa, near Missouri Valley, eventuated in Krueger’s death; all of the other rigs’ drivers were unharmed, the Associated Press reported. 

My colleague Max Kvidera and I reported on Krueger’s run for the presidency in our feature on the 2008 race in Truckers News’ September issue that year. At the time, Krueger said, he’d officially dropped out of the race after struggling with finances. He ran on a platform of eliminating America’s use of foreign oil and pushing alternative fuels — batteries, ethanol and biodiesel — to the forefront of American transport. As former Overdrive Managing Editor Steven Mackay reported in 2007, Krueger described the war in Iraq, plus political squabbles with countries such as Iran and Venezuela, as “symptoms of a problem â€” America’s reliance on foreign oil.”

Sticking to a stance on campaign donations that encouraged single donors — limiting contributions to $50 each — Krueger ended up spending $5,000 of his own money and raising only $1,000. Time pressures took their toll as well. When he had to start filling out his own federal election reports as well as campaigning, he decided he didn’t have the time and gave it up.

But that didn’t diminish the impact of the run.

He caught a lot of people off-guard, from the truckers he talked to at the Mid-America Trucking Show in 2007, where he launched the run, to producers for radio interview shows around the country, who would call him expecting to mine a little comedy with a truck driver, he told us in 2008. “They found out I had done my research and had serious answers,” Krueger said then, further recalling a North Dakota state senator who invited him to go on a radio talk show with him. The politician thought he, too, would have a little fun with a trucker, Krueger said. “After the show, he told me I sounded like I’d be a good candidate.”

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Krueger, a decorated Vietnam Veteran and twice-commissioned Kentucky Colonel who taught combat fighting at Fort Knox, was 62 years old.