JOHNSON CREEK, Wis.-- A tragic accident on Wisconsin State Highway 26 just south of the village of Johnson Creek claimed the lives of two young people mid-afternoon Sunday, Oct. 14.
At 2:44 p.m., the Johnson Creek Fire and EMS Department was paged out to the crash scene.
A two-vehicle collision on a densely traveled corridor occurred about two miles from where the highway intersects with Interstate 94.
With information from a Jefferson County Sheriff's Deputy first on the scene, EMS personnel immediately requested medical airlift be called to the incident. But weather conditions prevented medical helicopter services headquartered both in Madison and from taking off.
En-route, Johnson Creek EMT's called for mutual aid from Lake Mills EMS and Jefferson EMS. Additionally, assistance was requested from the Watertown Fire Department Paramedics and the Fort Atkinson Paramedic Intercept of Fort Memorial Hospital. All mutual aid came from within a 10-mile radius.
Traffic on the busy highway was brought to a halt and then routed around the scene for nearly two hours.
EMS and firefighters began attending to the victims even prior to extrication efforts. The two crumpled vehicles came to a rest on an embankment west of the highway. Each vehicle was immediately prevented from further movement with lines secured to fire apparatus at road level.
Cribbing and other bracing was used to provide greater stabilization.
Johnson Creek Fire and EMS Engine 21 were first on the scene. A first-run pumper built on a rescue body allows No. 21 to carry a complement of extrication tools, so the department's extrication team members were able to immediately help gain access to victims.
The Jefferson County Sheriff's Department conducted an investigation. According to Capt. Jeff Parker a northbound Chevy Malibu, operated by a 17 year old male from the City of Jefferson, was attempting to pass a vehicle that was turning left onto a smaller roadway.
There is an extra lane to the right on Highway 26 at this intersection that allows northbound vehicles to pass others turning there. The car's driver passed on the right, but lost control of his vehicle entering the southbound lane of traffic. The Malibu was hit on its passenger side by a GMC pick-up truck.
The driver of the car was pronounced dead at the accident scene.
Also dead at the scene was a passenger in the front seat of the car was a 15 year old female. Both fatalities were students at Jefferson High School. Traveling in the backseat was a 14 year old female from the village of Sullivan and also a Jefferson school student.
She was initially taken to Fort Atkinson Memorial Health Services and then to University of Wisconsin - Madison Hospital and remains under their care.
The driver of the pickup and his spouse, both 49, where transported to UW-Hospital as well.
Officials stated that no one in either vehicle was wearing a seatbelt, however none of the victims were thrown from their vehicle. It was also noted that neither rate of speed nor alcohol were factors contributing to the cause of the accident.
Additional agencies supporting the incident at the scene included representatives from the Jefferson County Coroner's office, The Wisconsin State Patrol as well as members of the Jefferson County Emergency Communications volunteer organization.
The Johnson Creek Fire and EMS Department serves the village of Johnson Creek, population 2050, as well as surrounding townships - an area of 54 square miles. It is a volunteer department with a full-time career chief and a full-time department administrator.
Included in the protection area is the intersection of two major traffic corridors mid-way between the metro areas of Madison and Milwaukee with a 10-mile stretch of Interstate 94 and eight miles of State highway 26.