DANE COUNTY, Wis. — Three men and a woman died Jan. 6 when two semi-trailers hit the minivan they were traveling in on Interstate 39/90/94.
The victims have been identified as 39-year-old Ryan L. Murch and 26-year-old Shawn D. Thurston of Wisconsin Dells, and 36-year-old Alexis D. Hudson and 18-year-old David R. Celmer of Lyndon Station.
At about 10:15 p.m. in Vienna, Hudson pulled over the 2005 Chevrolet Uplander that she and the other victims were traveling in to assist a disabled vehicle along the interstate’s shoulder. When she pulled back into traffic, two semis hit the minivan, according to local authorities.
All four occupants of the minivan were pronounced dead at the scene of the accident. The drivers of the semis, a 25-year-old Ohio man and a 61-year-old Illinois man, were not injured.
An investigation into the crash is underway, and no additional information has been released.
Commentary on The Fatal Crash in Dane County, Wisconsin
I am deeply saddened to learn of this tragic accident that claimed the lives of four. This is a horrendous accident that will undoubtedly cause tremendous pain in the lives of many. I hope all involved may find peace during this unimaginable time of grief.
The right to drive subjects all drivers to a duty of care to fellow travelers. I have found that this duty is generally fulfilled when we act with common sense. For instance, if we see a traveler stranded on the side of the road, wisdom suggests we clear the lane closest to the stranded traveler. Being mindful of others saves lives.
Information surrounding this accident is sparse while we await further details. However, this accident could have been avoided had the parties involved acted with greater prudence. Having handled many cases against trucking companies, it is essential to look at the corporation’s policy surrounding driver retention and training. I have worked on cases where the drivers demonstrated patterns of willfully negligent behavior, yet the employer retained the employees regardless. This is unacceptable. An independent investigation will provide clarity and bring answers to the difficult questions left unanswered by the state’s investigation. The trucking companies have likely already begun independent investigations to get ahead of any potential liability.
Again, I offer my condolences to the families impacted and hope for their solace during the journey ahead.
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