GROTON, S.D. (AP) — Two executives of an agriculture equipment dealer who were lifelong friends have died in a highway crash in South Dakota, according to the company.

Mark Kreps and Steve Connelly were both vice presidents at Fargo, North Dakota-based RDO Equipment Co. The men, both 54, died when their pickup truck collided with a dump truck west of Groton near Aberdeen on Tuesday afternoon, the South Dakota Highway Patrol said.

The dump truck was westbound in the left lane of U.S. Highway 12 and was making a left-hand turn into the median when the pickup, which was also westbound, rear-ended the dump truck, the patrol said. Both men died at the scene. The dump truck driver wasn’t hurt.

The company said in a Facebook post that Kreps and Connelly “were everything you could want in a friend, team member, and leader. They were the heart and soul of RDO Equipment Co.’s Agriculture Division.”

Connelly was vice president of the Midwest agriculture region, overseeing locations in Minnesota, South Dakota and North Dakota, and Kreps was vice president for agriculture sales, the company said.

“Together and independently, their leadership has been instrumental to the success of our organization,” the company’s post said.

Connelly grew up on his family’s farm near Moorhead, Minnesota, and graduated from Moorhead High School, where he later became an instructor and head football coach, according to an online biography.

The Kreps family issued a statement that said the two men were close and had known each other since childhood.

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