UPDATE: No Sign Culvert That Collapsed Was Deteriorating

UPDATED Saturday, June 23, 2012 --- 7:45 a.m.

NEILLSVILLE, Wis. (AP) — Clark County's emergency management director says there was no sign of fatigue or deterioration of a county road that washed out, killing three motorists.

Michelle Hartness says a flash flood hit the area Wednesday night, causing a 50-foot wide section of road to collapse and wash away. Hartness says the culvert underneath the road showed no signs of erosion last week when a highway mowing crew was there.

The county is mandated to inspect bridges every two years, but not culverts. WSAW-TV (http://bit.ly/O0RBIa ) says the culvert and section of County Road M that washed away is expected to be repaired within two to four weeks.

A Milwaukee couple and a Thorp woman died when their trucks fell 12 to 15 feet into the ravine and became partially submerged.


Information from: WSAW-TV, http://www.wsaw.com

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.


UPDATED Thursday, June 21, 2012 --- 4:20 p.m.

WILLARD, Wis. (AP) -- Authorities say three people died in crashes after heavy rain washed away a 50-foot stretch of highway in central Wisconsin.

Clark County Deputy Jim Backus says a motorist discovered two vehicles early Thursday in the large ravine in rural Willard, about 50 miles southeast of Eau Claire.

Authorities say a pickup truck carrying two people crashed into the crevasse. Another vehicle with one occupant then crashed into the same gorge. All three were pronounced dead at the scene.

The victims were identified as 56-year-old Thomas Jurceka and 57-year-old Susan Jurceka of Milwaukee; and 24-year-old Mary Malinowski of Thorp.

The National Weather Service says the area got 1 to 3 inches of rain in the last day, and that the soil was saturated from heavy rains earlier this week.

Copyright 2012. The Associated Press.


Posted Thursday, June 21, 2012 --- 11:05 a.m.

NEILLSVILLE, Wis. (AP) -- Authorities say three people have died in crashes on a washed-out road in central Wisconsin.

Clark County Chief Deputy Jim Backus says a passer-by discovered two vehicles in a large hole in a county road near Neillsville about 1:30 a.m. Thursday. Authorities say a pickup truck with two people crashed into the washed out area. Then another vehicle with one occupant crashed into the same hole. All three people were pronounced dead at the scene.

Backus says it's not clear what time the crashes happened so investigators aren't sure if it was raining at the time.

He estimates the area got about 3 inches of rain in the last day. He says rain had never caused a problem before along the 50-foot stretch of highway that washed completely away.

Copyright 2012. The Associated Press.

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Coverage from WEAU-TV:

Clark County, Wis. (WEAU)-Three people are dead after a two vehicle crash where a road washed out because of heavy rains.

The Clark County Sheriff’s Department says around 1:35 Thursday morning, it got a call that two vehicles were found in the washout on County Road M, about a mile and a half north of County Road I. That’s east of Augusta.

Deputies say a northbound truck with two people inside, crashed into the washout. The second vehicle, with just the driver inside, crashed in the same area. All three were pronounced dead at the scene.

Deputies say they are still investigating. Names are being withheld pending notification of family. No other information is available at this time.

These are the first traffic fatalities in Clark County for 2012.

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