MADISON, Wis. - A longtime Madison College counselor and his wife were killed in a traffic crash Tuesday.
Al and Janet Studesville died when the Texas Department of Public Safety says a semitruck crossed the center line of U.S. Highway 54 in north Texas and hit their motorcycle head-on.
The couple's colleagues and friends call the crash "shocking". Besides working at the College, Al was a civil rights leader, and with Janet, owned the Just Nails salon in Fitchburg. Their son is the Denver Broncos' running back coach, Eric Studesville.
"I really started working with Al when I was young," said Kaleem Caire, president of the Urban League.
Caire called Studesville a mentor for 20 years.
"I would go to Al when I needed help with being a public servant in Madison. He's lived the public life, in public service and he just gives you great advice," said Caire.
The two founded 100 Black Men of Madison in 1995, a movement meant to improve the quality of life for minorities.
"He was really a mentor, a coach, a counselor and is able to say what the person needs to hear," said Al's colleague and Madison College Associate Dean of Students Geraldo VilaCruz.
At the school, Al helped put people back to work through the Wise Older Workers program.
"I can't even tell you how many students he's impacted in a positive way over the years," said VilaCruz, who worked with Al for more than a decade.
"I think people are just taken aback and ask, has this really happened," he said.
VilaCruz spoke about starting a scholarship named for Studesville, whose voice may be silenced, but will live on in the minds of those he mentored.
"If you listen to him, you'd do pretty well; he was very smart, educated and knew how to get a lot of things done," said Kaleem.
Funeral arrangements for the couple are still pending, but the college said grief counselors will be available later this week. And they'll reach out to students individually who had appointments with Al.
In a statement, the Denver Broncos said, in part, "Our thoughts and prayers are with Eric and his family, and our organization will support them however possible during this difficult time."
As for the truck driver, Dewayne Buck, he wasn't hurt in the crash. News 3 reached out to the TxDPS with questions, but a spokesperson never returned out message.
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