WASHINGTON COUNTY -- The Germantown Fire Department (GFD) on Friday morning, December 29th responded to two separate wrecks on southbound I-41. One of the crashes happened near County Line Road -- the other near Lannon Road.
According to police, around 9 a.m. the Germantown Police Department responded to a crash on I-41 southbound north of County Line Road in the Village of Germantown involving a Menomonee Falls Police squad.
According to police, the Menomonee Falls officer had set up traffic control on I-41 southbound, just north of County Highway Q. The reason for the traffic control was an earlier accident just south of that location.
Police say the officer had set up traffic cones and had his marked squad within those cones, with emergency lights activated, when a motorist drove through the cones and rear ended the squad.
The officer was inside his vehicle at the time of the crash.
Both the officer and the female driver of the striking vehicle were taken to an area hospital with non-life threatening injuries.
While Germantown Officers were investigating the above crash, traffic started to slow down and back up on I-41 southbound.
At approximately 9:28 a.m., a secondary crash occurred in the vicinity of I-41 southbound north of Lannon Road/STH 167 East.
"You had six cars within a fairly close area and two of them were severely damaged with people trapped in them," said Germantown Fire Chief Gary Weiss.
Witnesses stated that a truck was driving southbound on I-41 at a high rate of speed, and struck traffic on the highway that was slowing or stopped. GFD firefighters used hydraulic extrication tools to remove two patients from one of the vehicles.
Two Flight for Life Helicopters were requested to transport two critical patients.
A total of six vehicles were involved in this crash. Four patients were transported to local hospitals: three patients were transported to Froedtert Hospital and one patient was transported to Community Memorial Hospital.
Northbound I-41 was closed for approximately 40 minutes while both Flight For Life helicopters landed on the highway. I-41 southbound was closed for approximately 1.5 hours.
"When we get weather like this wintry weather wintry mix, people need to heighten their situational awareness," said Weiss. "Preliminary information indicates that reckless driving and speed were contributing factors to this crash."
We are told thankfully all of the patients transported to the hospital are expected to be OK. Another reminder to drivers: when you see emergency vehicles and personnel on the roadways, give them a safe zone and space.