Wisconsin State Patrol releases names of drivers who died in fiery I-94 crash
Authorities are releasing new details about a fiery crash that left two people dead and six others injured Monday evening on Interstate 94 in St. Croix County.
On Tuesday morning, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) announced all lanes of westbound I-94 had reopened at the crash site by 10 a.m., more than 12 hours after the crash happened. WisDOT’s 511 website shows Highway 128 had reopened in both directions at I-94 by late Tuesday morning.
According to the Wisconsin State Patrol, the crash happened around 5:38 p.m. on westbound I-94 by the Highway 128 overpass near Wilson.
Both of the fatalities, which the State Patrol announced Tuesday were the drivers of a Ford F-150 and the driver of the semi who caused the crash – were confirmed at the scene.
Late Tuesday evening, authorities identified the drivers – 45-year-old James Michael Shearer of Hammond, Wisconsin was driving the pickup truck, while 76-year-old Zdzislaw Obodzinski from Palatine, Illinois was operating the Volvo semi-truck. Both drivers were wearing their seat belts, according to the State Patrol.
The State Patrol says traffic had slowed in the westbound lanes of I-94 Monday evening due to construction zone lane closures in the area. The agency goes on to say a 2013 Volvo semi unit didn’t slow down for the traffic and ended up running into a Ford F-150 and a Freightliner semi unit.
Authorities said a chain reaction crash involving four other vehicles then happened, causing multiple vehicles to start on fire including the two semi units.
Law enforcement officials add one of the semi units burned under the overpass for Highway 128, which caused the roadway to be closed while they assessed the bridge for structural damage. A video shared with 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS showing the fiery crash under the overpass can be viewed in the player above.
The State Patrol says everyone who was injured, including a 6-year-old girl from Minneapolis, has since been treated and released.