A beloved community member died in a tragic vehicle accident in the early hours of Monday morning in the city of Independence. Detectives in Independence are putting a lot of effort into piecing together what happened before the incident that killed Daniel S. Nelson, 43, a vivacious and passionate Kansas City Chiefs fan. Around 12:20 in the morning, Nelson’s Chevrolet and a railway bridge west of Noland Road crashed on 23rd Street. While the community grieves the passing of a loved one, concerns regarding the accident’s circumstances continue to exist.
The Crash and Initial Investigation
According to Independence police reports, Nelson was the sole occupant of the vehicle and was traveling eastbound on 23rd Street. Initial findings suggest that he crashed into a railroad bridge, resulting in a tragic fatality. Authorities revealed that Nelson was not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the accident, and they suspect alcohol may have been a contributing factor. The investigation is ongoing, and law enforcement is working to determine the precise cause of the crash.
Daniel S. Nelson: “Da Beard” and Chiefs Super Fan
Known for his spirited support of the Kansas City Chiefs, Daniel S. Nelson was more than just a football enthusiast. Affectionately nicknamed “Da Beard” by his fellow fans, Nelson was a familiar face at Chiefs games, painting his face in the team’s distinctive red and yellow colors. His dedication extended beyond the football field, as he would also dye his beard to match the team’s colors. Lynn “Weirdwolf” Schmidt, a fellow superfan who had recently spent time with Nelson at a Chiefs game, described him as a warm and friendly individual.
“We had just been together yesterday,” Schmidt recalled, referring to the Sunday Chiefs’ game against the Buffalo Bills. “He gave me the big bear hug that he always does. You know, you’ll see photos of us together, and he’s always got his arm just like clawed around you because he wanted to be close with people.”
The Impact on the Chiefs Community
Daniel S. Nelson’s presence was not only felt at the games but also in the larger Chiefs community. FOX4 had interviewed Nelson on multiple occasions, capturing his infectious enthusiasm for the team. In January 2020, just before the Chiefs triumphed over the San Francisco 49ers in the Super Bowl, Nelson shared his excitement with the media. He had attended that game and would later witness the Chiefs’ victory in another Super Bowl three years later in Arizona against the Philadelphia Eagles.
However, the recent loss against the Buffalo Bills seemed to weigh heavily on Nelson. Schmidt expressed, “I think the game really took a toll on him yesterday. That loss was hard. I think he let things go.” As the news of Nelson’s tragic passing spread, a small memorial began to take shape at the site of the crash, a testament to the impact he had on those around him.
Karmen Dungans, a friend of Nelson’s and the person responsible for his distinctive hairstyles, struggled to come to terms with the sudden loss. Nelson, an electrician in the Kansas City metro area, had a larger-than-life personality that left an indelible mark on those who knew him.
“That’s what he called me, was his loctician,” Dungans shared, referring to the term for someone who specializes in maintaining dreadlocks. She had recently styled Nelson’s hair, and the shock of his passing left her grappling with the reality that such a vibrant force could be gone.
“He just had a big presence about him, so it’s just kind of hard to process that that’s going to be gone,” Dungans lamented.
As the Independence police continue their investigation into the circumstances surrounding Daniel S. Nelson’s tragic death, the Kansas City Chiefs community mourns the loss of one of its most passionate and dedicated members. Nelson’s infectious spirit, characterized by his vibrant game-day attire and unwavering support for his beloved team, will be sorely missed. In the wake of this devastating event, friends, fellow fans, and the broader community come together to remember “Da Beard” and the joy he brought to those fortunate enough to have known him.