Neillsville, WI Auto And Van Crash, May 2000
FIVE DEAD IN PROM-NIGHT CRASH IN WEST CENTRAL WISCONSIN.
Neillsville (AP) - A car carrying four teen-agers on a prom-night outing collided with a van early Sunday and both vehicles burst into flames, killing all five people inside, authorities said.
The accident happened about 3 a.m. on Wisconsin 95 three miles south of this city of 2,600, the Clark County Sheriff's Department said.
The vehicles collided nearly head-on and caught fire, leaving all of the occupants burned beyond recognition, the sheriff's department said in a news release. The cause remained under investigation.
Firefighters used Jaws of Life equipment to remove the remains.
Coroner Richard Schleifer said the firefighters had the fire nearly extinguished by the time he arrived at the scene.
He described it as among the most gruesome wrecks he has seen in a career in emergency medical services.
"I've been in EMS work for a little over 30 years and this is probably the worst I've ever seen," he said.
He said the four victims in one car were from the Neillsville area and were out for the spring prom from Neillsville High School.
He declined to give their ages or confirm reports that two were brothers, saying only that that was a possibility.
The driver of the other vehicle was described as a man in his mid 30s.
The identities of the victims were expected to be announced today, after complete notification of the families, Schleifer said.
Plans were under way to have counseling available for students at the high school, he said.
John Gaier, administrator of the Neillsville school district, confirmed that the four teens had attended the prom held in the school gymnasium. He said he had no information on where they were going at the time of the crash.
He said the district was following its crisis planning to deal with the situation, including making contact with all high school staff members to be sure they are fully informed about the accident before they get to school Monday.
"You make crisis plans hoping you never have to use them," he said.
All counseling services will be available for students, and ministers from various congregations will also be at school, Gaier said.
"In a community our size, it is certainly a tremendous loss to everybody," he said.
The Oshkosh Northwestern Wisconsin 2000-05-08
List of Fatalities:
DYLAN GLEBKE, 17, the driver;
his brother, COLE GLEBKE, 16;
DANIEL RIDDLE, 15;
and LOUELLA BLACKDEER, 15, all of Neillsville.
The van driver, DAVID BREU, 34, of Marshfield.