Area counties reported multiple fatal accidents in 2018

January 17, 2019

Jefferson County

JEFFERSON -- Jefferson County experienced eight motor vehicle deaths over the course of 2018.

In 2016, there were seven crashes with single fatalities and this can be compared with 2015, when there were five crashes for a total of seven fatalities. In 2014, eight crashes lead to a total of 10 fatalities. A figure for 2017 from the Wisconsin Department of Motor Vehicles stated there were 13 fatal crashes in the county in 2017.

The first of the crashes for 2018 occurred Jan. 3 at 12:14 p.m. on County Trunk X north of Buske Lane when a pickup truck operated by Lawrence J. Queiser, 82, of N6307 Lake Dorothy Lane, Watertown, hit a tree along the roadway. Queiser died about two hours after the mishap.

The second fatal of the year was recorded when a vehicle operated by Gary E. Wolff, 47, of Jefferson, hit a tree along Highway 12 east of Trieloff Lane. The date of the crash was Feb. 18 and the time of the crash was 12:03 a.m. Wolff was pronounced dead at the scene.

Richard A. Gazeley, 34, of Fort Atkinson was the third person to die on county roadways when his vehicle collided with another at 9:36 p.m. on April 16. He passed away from his injuries the next day.

Clayton W. Friedl, 75, of Fort Atkinson was the fourth person to be killed as a result of a motor vehicle crash when his SUV rolled on State Highway 12 at Star School Road. The crash occurred June 8 at 6:18 p.m. and he died June 16.

Jeffrey S. Kramer, 57, of Sullivan, died June 28 at 2 p.m. following a motor vehicle crash that day at 2 a.m. on Bakertown Drive just north of Recycling Lane.

Brian K. Ulm, 53, of 623 Park St., Watertown, died at 10:30 a.m. Aug. 3 after a crash that day at 7:19 a.m. According to the sheriff’s office, the accident took place on County Highway CW at County Highway SC and was a one-Jeep rollover.

Charlotte Gagne, 47, of N8322 High Road, Watertown, died following a motorcycle crash on State Highway 26 at Business Highway 26 north of Jefferson in the southbound lanes. The crash involved the one vehicle and took place at 9:43 p.m. on Aug. 10.

Not yet added to the sheriff’s list of fatals for 2018, but reported in the Daily Times in late December was a fatality in Aztalan. Sheriff Paul Milbrath reported that on Dec. 21 at approximately 12:49 p.m., the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office was advised of a two-vehicle head-on crash with a rollover in the area of County Highway B and Gomoll Road in the town of Aztalan. A minivan operated by Donna Ludeman of Lake Mills was traveling westbound while a pickup truck driven by Cory Fayoville of Fox Lake was traveling eastbound and rolled onto its roof after impact. Ludeman was pronounced dead at the scene.

Dodge County

JUNEAU -- Dodge County recorded eight fatalities from car crashes in 2018. While the number is less than the year before it’s eight too many for Dodge County Sheriff Dale Schmidt.

“I am grateful for the response of the community in working to curtail some of the dangerous driving habits that occur on our highways,” Schmidt said. “While eight fatalities is still eight too many, it is far better than the 20 we had in 2017.”

In 2016, there were 12 fatalities followed by 11 in 2015, 14 in 2014 and nine in 2013.

The first of the eight fatalities in 2018 happened at 10:03 p.m. Jan. 12. Patrick J. Clark, 56 of Oconomowoc was eastbound on County Highway MM west of County Highway EM. Clark entered a curve and began to slide in a counter-clockwise direction and then entered the right/south ditch where it struck a culvert and overturned landing upside down in a driveway and became engulfed in flames. A passing motorist tried to remove Clark from the car, but was unsuccessful.

Clark was pronounced dead at the scene.

The second fatal of the year was recorded at 7:24 p.m. March 17 when Charles Seizinger, 52, of rural Hustisford, was driving a 1992 Ford pickup truck southbound on County Highway E when he lost control and entered the west ditch. The vehicle struck an embankment causing the vehicle to overturn.

Gary T. Ballweg, 52, of Fox Lake was pronounced dead March 19 after a truck was found in Beaver Dam Lake 20 yards from shore at the Hickory Point Road boat launch ramp.

Kyle N. Kuehl, 21, of rural Watertown was the fourth person to die as a result of a motor vehicle crash. Kuehl died at 2:30 p.m. July 4 when he was westbound on state Highway 16 east of Second Street Road in the town of Emmet when his vehicle was struck head-on by Sarah M. Steger, 26, of San Francisco, California.

Kuehl and Steger were traveling in opposite directions, but Steger allegedly crossed the centerline, according to sheriff’s reports.

Two individuals were killed at 4 p.m. July 13 in a motor vehicle crash in the town of Portland.

Kaley Gray, 21, and Jose Perez-Martinez, 28, both of Waterloo, were the only individuals in either vehicle.

Gray was eastbound on state Highway 19 near North Street in the town of Portland when she collided head-on with a westbound pickup driven by Perez-Martinez.

The seventh person, who died in a crash, was David M. Conforti, 56, of Hartford. He was the lone operator and only occupant of the cycle, who was killed in the crash about 4 miles northeast of Watertown.

The Dodge County Sheriff’s Office reported Conforti was found near the machine in a cattail marsh along County Highway R near County Highway MM at Smith Road in the town of Lebanon.

Investigators said the evidence indicates that the Conforti was northbound on County Highway R when he failed to negotiate a left-hand curve, entered the right/east ditch and was ejected from the cycle on Aug. 7.

The eighth person to die in a motor vehicle crash was Jack R. Dennis, 38 of Madison. Dennis was eastbound at 7 a.m. Dec. 9 on state Highway 16/60 when the car left the highway on a curve, struck a culvert and rolled over in the town of Elba. The man was extricated from the vehicle and transported to UW Hospital in Madison. He died at 7:35 p.m. Dec. 9 from his injuries.

“The Sheriff’s Office will continue efforts to be proactive into the New Year in hopes of continuing to reduce serious traffic crashes that occur. We may not necessarily reduce the amount of crashes, but if we can reduce speeds, get people to buckle up, reduce distracted, impaired and inattentive driving and curtail some of the other bad habits that are common it is our hope that we can continue to reduce the significant injuries that occur in crashes,” Schmidt said.

He asked the public to remember that his department is not afraid to take enforcement action when it is needed.

“We ask for the public’s continued efforts in driving safely each and every time they get behind the wheel,” he said.

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