MARINETTE — Four men, including a Marinette County Sheriff’s deputy, were injured earlier this month en route to a hunting trip out West.

Spencer Elias, a K-9 handler, and the others were on their way to Idaho to hunt elk, when their vehicle, somewhat ironically, struck an elk Oct. 10 on an interstate highway near Miles City in southeast Montana.

The other men are Austin Carter, Branden Forst and Brown County Sheriff’s deputy Ryan Nystrom. Upon impact with the elk, their mini bus camper went off the road and down a 70- foot embankment.

All four of the men were seriously injured, with each having at least one broken vertebrae along with other various head and neck injuries.

The men were rushed to the hospital in Miles City and then transferred to Billings, Montana, for more advanced care. From Billings it was decided that both Elias and Forst would need to be transferred again to a more capable facility. Both have been transferred to Salt Lake City to receive treatment.

According to Marinette County Sheriff Jerry Sauve, Elias is slowly but steadily working toward recovery. “I talked to him today,” said Sauve last week. “We don’t know when they will be healthy enough to be transferred back to Wisconsin, but from what I’ve heard they are all recovering.”

A GoFundMe page has been set up to help all the families of all four men cover medical bills and expenses, with all the money being split evenly among the men. According to the GoFundMe page, all the men’s surgeries were successful and all four have started the long road to recovery. The following is the link for the GoFundMe page, https://www.gofundme.com/f/recovery-road-for-austin-branden-spencer-amp-ryan?utm_medium=referral&utm_source=unknown&utm_campaign=comms_vvw+recovery-road-for-austin-branden-spencer-amp-ryan

More than $65,000 of the $85,000 goal has already been raised through GoFundMe. According to the page “Any amount helps, but we understand times are tough right now for a lot of us during the pandemic, so we are thankful for every dollar,”.

It is unknown at this time when the men will return to Wisconsin to continue their treatments and recovery.