‘It’s so traumatic and life-altering’: Rock County sees 2 fatal crashes with dump trucks in 2 days

A 29-year-old woman was killed on Monday and a 5-year-old boy was critically injured when she drove through a stop sign in the town of Magnolia and struck a dump truck.

Just the day before, passenger Derek Lee Garber, 20, was killed when his allegedly intoxicated driver ran into a parked dump truck in Milton.

The two fatal crashes are bringing back difficult memories for Lori Cornue-Owens of Milton.

Monday’s crash happened close to where Cornue-Owens was rear-ended by a dump truck 14 years ago. She was left paralyzed from the waist down.

“He pushed me 320 feet, the length of a football field, before we stopped,” said Cornue-Owens. “It’s so traumatic and life-altering — in a split second.”

After hearing about the two deadly crashes, Cornue-Owens is hoping other drivers understand the dangers of being distracted or inattentive while driving, especially near dump trucks.

“Anything that powerful and strong, it could kill you in an instant. And people need to take that very, very seriously,” she said.

Milton police Chief Scott Marquardt said the dump trucks’ involvement in both crashes was simply a coincidence.

“In our case specifically, we’re dealing with someone who was intoxicated, so that plays a factor. We may never know what happened in the other accident, the reason why the other person didn’t stop,” said Marquardt.

The Rock County Sheriff’s Office believes the woman could have been distracted, possibly by the kids or a cellphone.

“If you don’t notice that thing that just happened up in front of you that you’re going to come across in about 1.5 seconds and don’t have enough time to react, that can have serious consequences,” Marquardt said.

“It’s so devastating that that happened. It breaks my heart,” Cornue-Owens said.

She said that knowing about how rough her recovery was, she hopes she can find a way to reach out to the family of the young boy who is recovering from his injuries.

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