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‘Diesel Brothers’ stars pay tribute to employee, retired officer who drowned at Flaming Gorge

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WOODS CROSS — The stars of the TV series “Diesel Brothers” are giving back to an employee and former Unified police officer who drowned at Flaming Gorge over the weekend.

Dave Sparks, also known in the series as “Heavy D," said that Mikal Wersland, 47, had started working for him as a shop manager in Aug. 2017 after Sparks asked him to retire from the police force. Wersland had served with South Salt Lake and Unified police departments for more than 20 years prior to that.

Sparks and Dave Kiley, known as “Diesel Dave” said all proceeds from their “Thin Blue Line” gear would go toward paying for funeral costs and supporting Wersland’s family.

Sparks said he had become friends with Wersland prior to when he worked at Sparks’ shop. The two developed a friendship working out together at the same gym. Wersland's ability to connect with everyone in the gym led Sparks to ask Wersland to join his company, Sparks said.

"He was a genuinely good person," Sparks recalled.

Both stars said Wersland had an impeccable work ethic. As a shop manager, he organized each employee’s day, clean up the shop at the end of the day and would lock up the shop at the end of the day — even if that was as late as 3 or 4 a.m.

"He was what made everything run like clockwork here," Kiley said.

However, they said Wersland’s best skill was his knack for caring about people.

"He was a guy who cared about other people and how they were doing, and would forget about himself and his problems," Kiley added. "Every single day, he would ask how I was doing, what was going on in my life."

Daggett County Sheriff Erik Bailey said Wersland was swimming with friends and family at Cedar Springs Marina in Flaming Gorge Sunday when he was later found unresponsive.

Wersland was remembered by Salt Lake County Sheriff Rosie Rivera as an officer who “really cared about people.” KSL featured Wersland in 2015 after he and Unified police surprised an 84-year-old retired Navy veteran with a new motorized wheelchair after his wheelchair was stolen.

"I've been doing this 20 years and I've never experienced anything like this," Wersland told KSL in 2015 when he was asked about what the experience. "I'm not going to lie, I teared up quite a bit over the last few days, just hearing what people were willing to do."

Rivera said Wersland leaves behind four children. An America First Credit Union account was set up under the name, “Mikal Wersland’s Children Fund”* to help with upcoming family expenses.

As for the “Diesel Brothers,” both Sparks and Kiley said losing Wersland as an employee is not as difficult as losing him as a friend.

"The community, obviously his family — our family here Diesel Brother isn't going to be the same,” Sparks said. “You can't replace Mik."

Contributing: Mark Wetzel, KSL TV

* does not assure that the money deposited to the account will be applied for the benefit of the persons named as beneficiaries. If you are considering a deposit to the account, you should consult your own advisors and otherwise proceed at your own risk.

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Carter Williams is an award-winning reporter who covers general news, outdoors, history and sports for He previously worked for the Deseret News. He is a Utah transplant by the way of Rochester, New York.


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