Craig Nielson was 23 in 2001 when he died in a vehicle accident during load-out to the playa as part of DPW of BRC. He had long hair and was quiet but friendly and seemed excited to be in the desert. He was kommissary crew.
The night Craig died I had been in the desert only 11 days. I had come down with a crippling 104 degree fever and was being fed hot sauce and peaches by crew every few hours. I woke up to the sound of drumming and tortured hollering in the middle of the night. Convinced it was not a party but something darker, I was too weak to investigate and passed back out.
The crew had learned of the accident and wished to express their emotions. I didn't learn why there had been drumming and screaming until daylight a few hours later when rosie came to give me my check-in and feed me a few slices of peach with hot sauce. I passed back out in the heat.
I was laying in a pickup truck under a camper shell in 97 degree heat when I felt my fever break. It would be another day before I could stand and take in what had happened with Craig. Someone painted smiley faces on the vehicle he'd died riding.
Some crew ostracized the re-purposing of that vehicle and eventually it was crushed & towed away. The metal memorial sits near the site of the accident and reads Craig Nielson 8-17-01 May Your Spirit Soar.
Sometimes I pull over there at the site, to think.