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Wayne Richardson, formerly of Alexandria, was featured on an episode of the History Channel's Ice Road Truckers. The show originally aired Sunday, August 28, but will re-air this Sunday, September 4 at 7 p.m. Richardson died in October 2010 from cancer; his ashes were spread along the Haul Road - one of the routes he drove in Alaska. Contributed photo.

One last trip down Haul Road

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Former Alexandria resident Wayne Richardson was featured in a short segment on the History Channel show Ice Road Truckers.

Richardson, a truck driver who was living in Talkeetna, Alaska, passed away October 12, 2010 at age 58 after a year-long battle with cancer.

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He graduated from Jefferson High School in Alexandria in 1970. At age 18, he left for Alaska, working on the Alaskan Pipeline as a heavy equipment operator and over-the-road truck driver.

He worked throughout Alaska and drove the famous "Haul Road" (James Dalton Highway) - a 414-mile gravel road that heads straight north through arctic tundra to the farthest north reaches of Alaska.

In later years, Richardson worked with a construction company overhauling runways in Eskimo villages.

After Richardson passed away, his family decided on cremation; they wanted a part of him to come home to them (Richardson's mother, Irene Richardson, resides in rural Alexandria), but also felt part of him needed to stay in his chosen home of Alaska.

A portion of his ashes were spread over some of his favorite spots including the mountains. While he was sick, Richardson commented to a friend that he would have liked to make one last run down the Haul Road.

After he passed away, the friend contacted Carlile Transportation, asking to have two of their drivers carry Richardson's ashes northward during one of their runs.

The drivers, Tony Molesky and Lisa Kelly, dusted his ashes the latter part of February. The two are featured drivers on the show Ice Road Truckers and cameras were rolling during their trip.

In July, Russ McGarry, the story end producer of the show saw the film and read an article from an Alaskan radio station telling the story of Richardson's ashes heading up the Haul Road.

McGarry contacted Richardson's family and obtained permission to include the story of Richardson's ashes on an episode of Ice Road Truckers. The episode, called "Ice Rogue Trucker" (Season 5 Episode 13) aired August 28.

A three-minute segment at the beginning of the episode shows the dusting of Richardson's ashes.

The show will be rebroadcast on Sunday, September 4 at 7 pm. The episode can also be viewed online at www.iceroadtruckers.com.

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Tara Bitzan
Tara Bitzan is editor of the Echo Press. She joined the company in 1991 as a news reporter. A lifelong resident of Douglas County, Tara graduated from Brandon High School and earned a bachelor of arts degree in mass communications and English with a minor in Scandinavian Studies from Moorhead State University. She and her husband, Dennis, and their children live near Alexandria.
(320) 763-1211
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