Ald. Joe Dudzik dies after motorcycle crash; officials say speed, alcohol were factors in wreck

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MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- The Milwaukee County Medical Examiner's Office reports that Milwaukee Alderman Joe Dudzik had a blood alcohol level of .137 and the medical examiner's report says speed was a factor in the motorcycle crash that led to his death on the city's southwest side late Thursday, May 21st.

Milwaukee Alderman Joe Dudzik

Milwaukee Alderman Joe Dudzik

Officials say the accident happened around 11:25 p.m. on W. Morgan Ave. just east of S. 76th St. The posted speed limit there is 30 miles per hour. Police say Dudzik, 56, was riding his motorcycle when he struck barricades warning of a construction site. The medical examiner's report says Dudzik flew off the cycle and landed 75 feet away. He was taken to a hospital where he died from his injuries. Dudzik was not wearing a helmet.

The Alderman's wife, a family friend and mother came to the scene Friday morning trying to make sense of what happened. Joe Dudzik's wife, Lynn, tells FOX6 News she got a text from her husband about an hour before the crash, saying he was going to drive home slowly due to the rain.

Dudzik was on his way home from a town hall meeting at Hamilton High School, his alma mater, and he stopped at 'Bike Night' at the Harley-Davidson Museum.

At 2 a.m., Lynn Dudzik says police were at her door. Milwaukee Common Council President, Mike Murphy, was with them, telling her that her husband and the father of their two children, did not survive.

"I know his wife Lynn, Jeffrey, Jake will miss him deeply. His proudest accomplishment would be his family," said Murphy.

Fatal motorcycle crash at 7400 W. Morgan Ave.

Fatal motorcycle crash at 7400 W. Morgan Ave.

As part of the investigation, police interviewed city workers about the placement of the barricades. The Department of Public Works tells FOX6 News the barricades went up on Wednesday, May 20th. The work was scheduled to be completed by 10 a.m. on Friday, May 22nd.

In a news conference at City Hall, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett and other members of the Common Council shared their thoughts on Ald. Dudzik's commitment to his job, the city and his constituents.

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett

Barrett said, "People who work in city government are a family...right now, our family is shocked." The mayor described Dudzik as a "very self-depricating guy" who battled for his constituents.

Common Council President Michael Murphy said of Dudzik, "He's one of the proudest sons of the City of Milwaukee." Murphy said Dudzik loved representing the city and was proud of his Polish heritage.

Milwaukee Alderman James Bohl

Milwaukee Alderman James Bohl

Ald. James Bohl was emotional about speaking of his colleague. That's in part because he "had the pleasure of having one long lunch, last lunch" with his friend on Thursday.

Bohl said Dudzik always approached his votes with thoughtfulness -- and was a dedicated family man.

Alderman Dudzik was first elected in a special election on April 2, 2002, and was reelected  in 2004, 2008 and 2012.

Dudzik was currently serving on the Licenses Committee and the Finance and Personnel Committee.  He also served for more than 20 years in the city's Department of Public Works. He was also active in the community. He founded and has served as chair of the Euclid Park Neighborhood Association, and also served as treasurer of the Crime Prevention Neighborhood Advisory Council for the 6th Police District. His work in the community has included service as a volunteer for the Special Olympics, as a youth softball and soccer coach and as an instructor at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee.

Dudzik graduated from Hamilton High School and attended UW-Madison, UW-Waukesha and Milwaukee Area Technical College.

Alderman Dudzik is survived by his wife and two sons.

9 comments

  • citizen

    No matter the circumstances that surround his death, he was a husband and a father. No need to criticize the choices he made. What if his sons or wife read these comments? Have a little respect for his loved ones. They have lost a loved one and have to deal with the consequences his choices brought to their life. They do not need to hear it from the public.

  • EX LEFTWINGER

    Very sad and unfortunate. Leave the comments to yourselves when his family is in mourning. He probably didn’t know he wasn’t going home that night. Condolences.

  • Kristin

    He was someone’s father, brother, son, uncle etc. Your negative comments are only hurting them. They don’t deserve any of this. Let them mourn in peace. He will not see your criticism, his children and wife will…think about that.

    • Wilson

      Yes Kristin he was someone’s father, brother, son, uncle etc. As was Sadaam Hussein. What’s your point???

  • wayne

    I could also bash drunk drivers,but how many of us drank and drove but never got caught when we were growing up? Thank God for His mercey we are here today. No one needs to die doing it.

  • Robert Bohannon

    You sound like one great human being, letting your hatred and political views get the best of you.

    • Wilson

      How about all those politicians singing his praises about how wonderful a guy he was? While I wouldn’t expect them to bring up the fact that he was intoxicated and should not have been riding his motorcycle, they would be better off not commenting at all. If this was some kid who stole a car and crashed it they would be bashing that kid left and right. Because he was their colleague they don’t even mention the fact that he drove drunk and that he sets a bad example for his sons. What a bunch of horsesh*t politicians!!!

      • Southsider

        The alcohol no doubt probably played a factor as did many other variables. He made a mistake as many have in the past and will in the future, unfortunately this one cost him his life. Though clearly highly educated on the topic since one of his sons will never have to worry about driving drunk because it impossible for him. Let the family grieve.

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