UPDATE: Man killed in Beaver Dam River crash identified
A 23-year-old Beaver Dam man died early Tuesday morning when an SUV he was a passenger in drove off a bridge and landed upside down in the Beaver Dam River in downtown Beaver Dam.
Authorities searched the river for a 2-year-old child who they were told was in the vehicle at the time of the crash but was found hours later in the care of relatives.
The Beaver Dam Fire Department identified Jared H. Frakes as the man killed in the crash. A woman driving the vehicle was rescued by first responders and hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries. The driver of the vehicle has not been identified.
Beaver Dam Police officers responded to the intersection of Madison Street and Ryan Cantafio’s Way at around 1:52 a.m. after a 911 call. Police Chief John Kreuziger said the SUV was traveling north on Madison Street and went through the guardrail before striking the wall behind Park Plaza Pizza, 1605 Front St., flipping over and landing upside down in the river.
Kreuziger said speed and alcohol were factors in the accident.
Four officers responded and Kreuziger said they tied themselves together with ropes to make their way through waist-deep water that had a very strong current. They were able to rescue the driver of the vehicle, who was conscious and alert. The woman was transported to Beaver Dam Community Hospital.
Beaver Dam Fire Department personnel and paramedics arrived on the scene and found Frakes in the vehicle, and treated him for cardiac arrest.
“This was all done in three-plus feet of very cold, rushing water,” Beaver Dam Fire Chief Alan Mannel said in a press release.
Frakes also was transported to Beaver Dam Community Hospital, where he was pronounced dead after suffering the cardiac arrest.
Mannel said there was conflicting information given from the driver about the number of people that were in the vehicle and fire personnel searched the river and ordered the flow of the river stopped at the dam.
“Initially, we were told the driver indicated there were up to five people in the car,” Mannel said in the press release. “This eventually changed to three people, the driver, Frakes and an unaccounted for two year old child.”
Beaver Dam Police initiated an investigation about where the missing 2-year-old was located.
“This was very difficult as the only witness was uncooperative,” Mannel said, of the driver.
The fire department feared that the child might had been swept downstream, Mannel said. They began search of the water and requested air assets from Wisconsin Emergency Management through Dodge County Emergency Management.
Mannel said in the press release that Capitol Police, Middleton Fire and other agencies arrived in Beaver Dam and were briefed on the situation, and prepared to search the downstream river areas. A Wisconsin National Guard helicopter with Forward-Looking Infrared was also enroute from West Bend.
Frakes graduated from Beaver Dam High School in 2014 and was employed at Centro in Horicon. Beaver Dam Police Department located the child around 6 a.m. in the care of relatives, Kreuziger said. Frakes mother was contacted and was able to tell police where the child was located.
Four Beaver Dam police officers were transported to Beaver Dam Community Hospital for treatment due to the amount of time they were in the water. Their injuries were not serious.
The dam had to be closed to reduce water flow in order to remove the vehicle from the river.
In an 12-month span from July 2010 to July 2011 there were three crashes at the same location with cars ending up in the river. After that, the city installed a warning sign with a flashing yellow light and improved pavement markings.
Beaver Dam Police Department was assisted by Beaver Dam Fire Department, Dodge County’s Sheriff’s Office, Wisconsin State Patrol, Beaver Dam Water Utilities, Beaver Dam Public Works and the Dodge County Medical Accident.