Updated: 12/21/2013 9:23 AM
Created: 12/13/2013 8:05 PM KSTP.com
By: Todd Wilson
Pierce County Sheriff Nancy Hove says a traffic accident Thursday afternoon is one of the deadliest she's seen. Thirty-two-year-old Kari Milberg of Centuria, Wis., was driving. Riding with her in her Saturn SUV were four kids.
"The truck was heading northbound on 35 and the car was heading southbound. It appears she, for some reason, lost control, going sideways into the lane of the trucks," she said.
Milberg was ejected, and her 12-year-old daughter, Lydia, died at the scene. One of her 5-year-old nieces, Claire, was pronounced dead at hospital in River Falls, Wis.
Milberg; her 3-year-old son, Easton; and another 5-year-old niece, Laynie; were taken to Regions Hospital in St. Paul. Milberg and Laynie both had surgery for brain swelling, according to a CaringBridge website for Milberg. Milberg is holding her own, however Laynie is "not doing so well, as of now," the site stated.
Easton has minor injuries.
"At this time I don't know about 'properly' but they were all in car seats," she said.
Sheriff Hove says Milberg was on her way to Prescott to visit one of her sisters. One of the girls killed is that sister's daughter.
"They belong to two separate sisters," Sheriff Hove said.
Sheriff Hove says that not just this area of 35 is a problem but the entire stretch up and down 35.
"In the summertime it gets very busy with motorcycles so we do have a lot of accidents along highway 35," she said.
Hove says, she can't rule out weather as a factor in the deadly accident. She says, her officers and the Wisconsin State Patrol are working to figure what caused the accident.
Authorities said Jose Mendoza, 24, of Rockford, Ill., was driving the box truck. Mendoza and his two passengers were not injured.
A memorial fund has been established for the 5-year-old niece of the victim:
Michael Padek Fund
2866 White Bear Ave.