By Patrick Lynn
Portage Co. deputies say one man is dead and two sustained serious injuries following a two-vehicle crash on Hwy. 10 Thursday.
Crews were called to the Hwy. 10 bridge crossing near Hwy. B in Amherst at 6:34 p.m. on Nov 22 after a caller reported the crash, saying one vehicle may have been on fire and an occupant was trapped. Amherst fire crews called in help from Wisconsin State Patrol, Portage Co., Stevens Point, and the Village of Plover to assist.
According to a news release from the Portage Co. Sheriff’s Office, a full-sized Dodge Ram pickup truck towing a loaded utility trailor was traveling east on Hwy. 10 when the driver, 58-year-old Douglas Curley of Allenton, Wis., lost control of his vehicle and entered the median.
Once in the median, the trailer detached from the truck. The truck then became airborne, entering westbound lanes.
A Jeep Cherokee, operated by Cudahy resident Michael Shimeta, 61, was traveling west on Hwy. 10 with a 62-year-old passenger, Terry Scheer from Franklin, Wis., when the airborne truck landed partially on the jeep before rolling off and striking an outside guardrail.
Both men had to be extricated from the jeep and were transported to St. Michaels’ Hospital with “serious injuries”, according to the news release.
Curley was the only occupant of the Dodge. He did not survive.
Crews had closed westbound lanes on Hwy. 10 for about four hours, rerouting traffic via a detour.
After reconstructing the scene, the Portage Co. Sheriff’s Office Technical Crash Investigation Team believes the bridge decking may have become slippery, making it difficult for Curley to maintain control at the speed which he was driving.
In its news release, the sheriff’s office also said it wants to “caution motorists about the slippery
and unpredictable nature of bridge overpasses and urges drivers to reduce their speed as
changing conditions warrant. Warning signs posted at bridges reminding drivers that bridges may
be icy should be taken seriously.”
Fire and EMS crews from Stevens Point, Plover, and Amherst all responded to the scene, along with the Wisconsin State Patrol, Portage County Traffic Incident Management Team, and the Portage Co. Coroner.
The crash remains under investigation.