Four people were killed and five were injured in a crash in northwestern Wisconsin this weekend.
The Chippewa County Sheriff's Department responded to a 911 call about a two-vehicle crash around 5 p.m. Saturday, a news release says. It happened at the intersection of State Hwy 64 and CTH G, about halfway between Cornell and Gilman, Wisconsin.
A preliminary investigation indicates that a minivan traveling north on CTH G failed to stop or yield at the intersection and struck a west bound truck pulling a trailer, the department said.
The 23-year-old female driver of the minivan survived, but the three passengers in her vehicle were killed: Mikaila S. Toske, 23; Raven A. Ellin, 21; and Jonathan M. Jorgensen, 36 – all three were residents of Eau Claire.
One passenger in the truck, 46-year-old Kristine J. Kummer of Medford, Wisconsin, was also killed. The driver and three other passengers in that vehicle survived with injuries. All parties involved were air lifted or taken by ambulances to area hospitals in Eau Claire.
Chippewa County Sheriff Jim Kowalczyk told the Eau Claire Leader-Telegram it's the worst accident he's seen in 40 years.
"Of all the years (as an officer), this is the worst one I've ever been to," Kowalczyk said.
It's a dangerous weekend for travel
The roads are busier and more dangerous than usual as many people travel out of town for the long Memorial Day weekend.
AAA expects more than 34.6 million Americans will be on the roads during the holiday period between May 25-29. It's the highest Memorial Day travel volume since 2005.
We're also entering a dangerous time of year – the 100 deadliest days on Minnesota roads.
And Memorial Day is also one of the worst holidays for drunk driving. According to the Department of Public Safety, about 4.3 drunk drivers are arrested every hour on the holiday.
In 2015 (which is the most recent holiday crash report), four people died and 216 were injured during Memorial Day weekend. Altogether, there were 486 crashes – so a little more than six crashes an hour.
So buckle up, slow down, keep your eyes on the road, and don’t drink and drive.