“I’m holding out hope:” Wisconsin State Patrol seeking semi that may be tied to fatal incident

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JEFFERSON COUNTY -- Closer to some answers: Wisconsin State Patrol gives a first look at the semi suspected of causing a fatal accident in Jefferson County.

The accident happened in May. The victim was on his way home from Madison to Brookfield when part of the semi broke off and crashed through his windshield. Now, there is a closer look at the truck to see.

"I'm holding out hope that they can find it," the victim's widow Joleen Tichelaar said.

For the first time, Tichelaar is getting a look at the semi believed to be involved in her husband's death.

"Finding this truck could explain why it happened. Was it due to poor maintenance? Was there a manufacturer problem?" Tichelaar asked.

Back on May 22nd, Jay Tichelaar was driving on I-94 eastbound. In Jefferson County, investigators say a semi one lane over in front of him ruptured its brake drum.

"A piece came through and crashed through his windshield. He didn't even have time to react," Tichelaar said.

Jay's car veered into the grassy median traveling about a half-mile before stopping. Jay was dead. The semi appears to have no identifiable markings. State Patrol say it's possibly a black Freightliner Coronado Glider with a sleeper berth towing a Great Dane trailer.

"I'm sure the driver knows that he lost his brake drum," Tichelaar said.

So far, few people have come forward who witnessed the wreck but police hope repair shops or other truckers know something.

"Until we know the reason why there was this brake failure and why the brake drum came flying through my husband's windshield, we don't know how to prevent this from happening again to another family," Tichelaar said. 

Photos of Jay's car are a reminder of the crash. And a medallion is a reminder of his organ donation. Jay's tissue, skin, and even part of his heart were donated. A potentially life-saving decision for others while being life-altering for his widow.

"I don't wish this pain on anyone," Tichelaar said.

The brake parts flew off the semi so fast - estimated to be in a matter of seconds - making it impossible for any driver to anticipate or avoid the debris.

If you have any information about this case, you're asked to call Wisconsin State Patrol.