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Names released of drivers killed in Jefferson Co. triple-fatal crash

Multiple people died in a three-car collision on I-94 West near Johnson Creek, on August 18,...
Multiple people died in a three-car collision on I-94 West near Johnson Creek, on August 18, 2021.(WMTV/Curt Lenz)
Published: Aug. 20, 2021 at 4:54 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - The Jefferson Co. Medical Examiner’s released the names of the three men killed in a multi-vehicle crash along I-94, near Johnson Creek, noting that one of them had not been involved in the collisions and had only stopped to help.

According to authorities, Harold Ostrander had been heading west around 4:15 a.m. Wednesday in a pickup truck that was hauling a cargo trailer when the Jackson, Michigan, man lost control of the vehicle. The truck struck a guardrail and then collided with Ford Escape, driven by Thomas Meier, of Greenfield, Wisconsin.

Jason Smeltzer was behind the wheel of his yellow semi and saw the damaged truck and SUV as he passed the scene, authorities continued. The Chippewa Falls man decided to double-back to help. Ostrander, Meier, and Smeltzer were all standing behind the Escape when they were struck and killed by another semi, which then collided with the pickup.

“Smeltzer was truly a good Samaritan,” the Sheriff’s Office stated. “(H)e just pulled over to see if everyone was okay.”

The crash closed I-94 from Johnson Creek to Lake Mills for more than six hours.

In its statement, the Jefferson Co. Medical Examiner reminded drivers that, if they are in an accident on a major highway or a busy road, they should stay in their vehicles until help arrives, saying “this can’t be stressed enough.”

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