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WisDOT releases new highway camera video of semi wreck in Mitchell Interchange

MILWAUKEE — The Wisconsin Department of Transportation released on Wednesday, Aug. 28 new highway camera video of the semi wreck that unfolded in the Mitchell Interchange on Monday.

The video includes two new angles — one from the side (above) and a second from a wider shot (just below). In each case, you can see the semi lose control shortly before slamming into a tow truck that had been stopped to assist an accident that happened in the interchange a short time earlier.

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Joe Altenhofen with Ray's Towing arrived at the scene to help out.

In the video, the driver of a car and sheriff's deputy can be seen getting into the squad to wait for Altenhofen to remove the vehicle. However, Altenhofen would never complete his job.

Crash involving tow truck, semi near Mitchell Interchange

Crash involving tow truck, semi near Mitchell Interchange

Crash involving tow truck, semi near Mitchell Interchange

Just 25 seconds later, the video shows a semi speeding around the corner, swerve and lose control before smashing into the drivers' side of his tow truck.

Nearly caught up in the violent impact, the driver of the SUV can be seen on video ducking when the trailer flies by her head, and another semi slam on its brakes to avoid a potential pile-up.

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The deputy called for backup, and realized Altenhofen was trapped inside his truck. The driver and passenger of the semi were able to escape the wreck on their own.

"We'll need medical for them too," a deputy can be heard on dashcam video. " They're stumbling around, they are conscious and walking around, both bleeding from the head."

Crash involving tow truck, semi near Mitchell Interchange

Recovering at Froedtert Hospital, Altenhofen is already receiving support from the community.

"We're fellow car enthusiasts and what had happened yesterday, sent a shock-wave," said John Schaffer, friend of tow truck driver.

John Schaffer teamed up with Hermans Auto Clinic to plan a fundraiser for their longtime friend, knowing Altenhofen will owe medical bills and will likely be out of work for a while.

"We need to take care of him, it's part of a car community thing that we do," said Schaffer.


The fundraiser is scheduled for Sunday, Sept. 22. Meanwhile, the company that the semi truck driver works for says the crash was caused by the wet weather.

This wreck shut down the Mitchell Interchange to southbound traffic for more than four hours. The lanes reopened to traffic just as the evening rush was getting underway on Monday.

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A fundraiser will be held on Sept. 22 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Herman’s Auto Clinic (6100 S. Howell Ave.) in Milwaukee. All proceeds will go toward Joe Altenhofen's recovery. The public is welcome to attend.

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