Local News

Crash on bridge leaves 1 in serious condition, 2 others injured

Police: Icy roads likely caused crash

JANESVILLE, Wis. - Crash on bridge leaves 1 in serious condition, 2 others injured

Three people were sent to a hospital after a crash on a bridge over the Rock River near Janesville Thursday morning.

Crews were dispatched to a two-vehicle head-on crash that happened on the Four-Mile Bridge at 2800 W. Highway 14 around 10:50 a.m., according to a release.

Investigators said a 2012 Ford Escape, driven by Cathy Venema, 54, of Darien, with heavy front-end damage, was in the westbound lane when they arrived on scene. The Ford's rear driver's side tire was hanging over the bridge's side barrier.

A 2003 GMC Envoy, driven by Leslie Turkleson, 72, of Brooklyn, was also found with heavy front-end damage in the eastbound lane, officials said.

Investigators said Turkleson was traveling in the eastbound lane of Highway 14, approached the bridge and Howlett was following behind. Venema was in the westbound lane going towards the bridge.

Turkleson lost control of the GMC on the ice-covered bridge, causing him to cross the center line and hit Venema's Ford head-on, according to the release. The crash pushed Venema's Ford onto the bridge barrier.

Venema and Turkleson had to be extricated from their vehicles, officials said. Venema's passenger, her 20-year-old daughter Shea Lahr, of Clovis, N.M., was also extricated. All three were transported to Mercy Hospital in Janesville.

Venema is in serious condition, while Turkleson and Lahr are in stable condition, according to the release.

A third vehicle, a 2012 Chevy Silverado, driven by Chad Howlett, 38, of Evansville, was also involved in the crash, but sustained minor damage, officials said. Howlett was able the drive past the collision, sustained minor damage and was not injured.

Icy roads are listed as the main contributing factor that lead to the crash, according to the release. All occupants were wearing their seat belts.

"We felt the icy conditions on that bridge were so much worse than they were every place else," said Troy Knutson with the Rock County Sheriff's Office. "I think the accident shows the importance of slowing down when you get to those bridges."

The GMC and Ford blocked both lanes of Highway 14 between Highway 51 and County Road E starting at 10:51 a.m. It reopened at 12:32 p.m. The State Traffic Operations Center was requested to inspect the bridge side barrier, but the bridge remains open.

Officials said no citations were issued and no additional investigation is scheduled.

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