Man dies when Jeep falls into river

TOWN OF FREEMAN, Wis. - A man died when his Jeep fell into a river after a road was washed away, according to a release from the Crawford County Sheriff’s Office.

Deputies were called at 4:22 a.m. Tuesday to Highway 82 about one-half mile west of Highway 35 in the town of Freeman on a report of a crash.

Investigators said James Walleser, 59, of Lansin, Iowa, was driving his Jeep east on Highway 82 when he entered an area of the road that had washed out. His Jeep landed in a river and became fully submerged.

The highway surface appeared to have been undercut by the high water, causing the highway surface to erode and fall into the river, deputies said.

A witness a quarter-mile behind Walleser called for help.

Walleser was found inside the Jeep and was pronounced dead at the scene. An autopsy will be performed Tuesday in Madison.

The Crawford County Highway Department began the process of repairing the road shortly after the Jeep  was removed from the scene. Highway 82 will remain closed between Highway 35 and Lansing until further notice.

Motorists who want to cross the river can go north to La Crescent, Minnesota, opposite La Crosse, Wisconsin, or south to Marquette, Iowa, opposite Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin.

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