Tragic passing of ‘Ice Road Truckers’ icon Darrell Ward in plane accident

April 18, 2024
5 mins read

Darrell Ward was an American reality television personality and truck driver, featured in “Ice Road Truckers” from season six in 2012 until his death in 2016 in a plane accident. The world was shocked and saddened by his tragic passing, one of the most beloved personalities in the hit reality TV show, known for his larger-than-life personality, his unwavering work ethic, and his love for adventure. In this article, we will take a closer look at his life and legacy, from his early years to his untimely death.

Who was Darrel Ward?

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His early life and family background

Darrell Ward was born on 13 August 1964, in Missoula, Montana, to parents Charlene and Corky Ward and grew up on a ranch near the town of Deer Lodge in a family of truckers – Ward’s family had a trucking company, and his father and grandfather were both truck drivers, and so he developed a passion for driving at a young age, and began driving for them as soon as he was old enough, as a teenager , so dropped out of school in Montana, but never looked back. Despite not having a formal education, Ward was known for his intelligence and his ability to solve problems on the fly. He often spoke about the importance of family and how his upbringing instilled in him a strong work ethic and a love for the open road.



Truck Driver

Darrell was an experienced truck driver and had been driving trucks for over 30 years at his death. In the early 2000s, he started hauling freight across the treacherous frozen highways of Canada and Alaska, and quickly gained a reputation as a skilled and fearless driver, capable of navigating the icy roads and extreme conditions of the Arctic. He eventually went on to work for other trucking companies, including Arrowhead and Carlile Transportation, where he became known as one of the best long-haul truckers in the business.

Reality TV

Darrell first appeared on the History Channel reality TV show ‘Ice Road Truckers’ in its sixth season in 2012 and quickly became a fan favorite. Darrell was known on the show for his outgoing personality, his cowboy hats and boots, and his love of country music, and quickly became a fan favorite due to his outgoing personality, no-nonsense attitude, and his willingness to take on some of the most dangerous roads in North America. Darrell was also known in the show for his outgoing personality, his cowboy hats and boots, and his love of country music, as well as his passion for hunting and fishing, often sharing photos of his catches on social media. He also appeared on the spin-off series “IRT: Deadliest Roads” and “IRT: Ice Road Truckers: Arctic Run”.


Public Speaker

In addition to his TV work, Darrell was an accomplished motivational public speaker, often giving talks about his experiences as a truck driver and his life philosophy. He traveled the country giving speeches and sharing his experiences as an ice road trucker, becoming known for his down-to-earth style, and his ability to connect with audiences of all ages and backgrounds. He shared his story as a testament to the power of hard work, perseverance, and a love of adventure.


Wife—Gwen Ward

Darrell was married to Gwen for over 20 years, and they had two children, son Reno and daughter Terra. There is barely any information on his wife, how the couple met, and their family together due to Darrell’s privacy. The demanding nature of his careers as a television personality and truck driver, meant that he couldn’t spend much time with his family. Nonetheless, he maintained strong family values and remained close to his beloved wife and children, and often talked about his them and his grandchildren in interviews, how important his family was to him, and how much he loved spending time with them when he wasn’t on the road


His tragic passing

Darrell passed away on 28 August 2016, after a tragic event occurred when he was en route to shoot ‘Ice Road Truckers: The New Generation’ in Montana. The ill-fated journey took place in a single-engined Cessna 182 Skylane plane, Darrell and his friend and pilot Mark Melotz on board. After travelling for about 53 minutes from Missoula to Rock Creek, Montana, the pilot attempted to land the plane at a nearby airstrip, but during the approach to land, the aircraft took a sudden right turn, leading to the fatal crash. Post the accident, The National Transportation Safety Board carried out an extensive investigation, aiming to determine the cause of the accident and ascertain whether any anomalies could have contributed it. After a thorough examination, the Board concluded that the reasons for the turn couldn’t be established due to the lack of evidence indicating any anomalies that could have affected the normal operation of the aircraft. This event serves as a reminder of the inherent risks associated with air travel, and highlights the importance of maintaining the highest safety standards at all times. The news of Ward’s death sent shockwaves through the trucking industry and the world of reality TV, as fans mourned the loss of one of their favorite personalities.

Tributes in his memory

One of the first tributes came from Ward’s family in a statement released shortly after his passing, saying “Darrell was a beloved son, brother, husband, father and grandfather, who will be deeply missed by all who knew him. He was a true adventurer, and lived life to the fullest. We take comfort in knowing that he died doing what he loved.” Ward’s legacy was also honored in the 10th season of “Ice Road Truckers,” which was dedicated to his memory, featuring a special tribute episode that celebrated his life and his contribution to the show. Other tributes poured in from fans and colleagues alike; many of his fellow truckers and “Ice Road Truckers” cast members took to social media to express their condolences and share their memories of Ward. One of the most moving tributes came from fellow castmate, Lisa Kelly – in a heartfelt post on Twitter, she wrote, “My heart is heavy with the news of Darrell Ward. He was a true adventurer and loved his family dearly. Rest In Peace my friend.”


The legacy of Darrell Ward and his impact on the trucking community.

Darrell Ward’s untimely death left a lasting impact on his family, friends and fans. Despite his passing, his life continues to inspire and his memory lives on through the tributes paid to him, as well as the legacy he left behind. Ward was a larger-than-life figure who touched the hearts of many during his time on the show. He was a role model to many, and his passing was a profound loss for those who knew him. One of the key aspects of Ward’s legacy is his impact on the trucking industry, as he inspired many to pursue a career in trucking, and his dedication to the industry will be remembered for years to come.

Net Worth and Salary:

Ward’s net worth at the time of his passing was estimated to be around $500,000. While this may seem like a modest sum compared to some of the other personalities on reality TV, it’s a testament to his humble approach to life and his dedication to his family. As for his salary, the exact figure is unknown, however, it is believed that Ward earned a significant amount of money during his time on the show; it was a major hit, and helped to raise the profile of the trucking industry as a whole.

Olivia Wilson

As the Freelance Writer at Net Worth Post, I steer producing riveting stories about the lives and triumphs of influencers. With an unwavering commitment to precision and a flair for weaving compelling tales, I guide our content creation, from the depths of research to the pinnacle of narrative excellence. My responsibilities encompass the full spectrum of editorial management, including the meticulous investigation, narrative development, and upholding the integrity and high standard of our output.

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