Airlifted victim

 A driver is extricated from a car Monday after it was struck from behind on U.S. 8 while waiting for oncoming traffic to clear to make a left turn.                                                          Photos by Luke Klink, Ladysmith News

One person was seriously injured in a 3-vehicle chain reaction accident, Monday morning, on U.S. 8,west of Ladysmith.

The Rusk County Sheriff’s office received multiple 911 calls reporting a 3-vehicle accident at about 8:48 a.m., Aug. 12, at the intersection of U.S. 8 and Schmidt Road in the township of Grant, just west of the city.

Neighbors in the area said they heard the crash from their nearby homes.

“It was a big boom,” Bell Road resident Thomas Bell said.

“Oh my goodness did we hear it. It was a loud crash,” another area resident said.

Area resident Bill Christianson also came down to the intersection after hearing the crash.

Neighbors tried to report what had happened, but they said couldn’t get through on the 911 emergency line or the sheriff’s office business line. They quickly began hearing sirens of the responding emergency vehicles.

When they came to the highway they found three vehicles had collided, sending automotive parts across the roadway and into the ditches.

According to the Rusk County Sheriff’s Department, initial investigation shows a Silver Toyota Camry operated by Carol Wangerin of Ladysmith was stopped on U.S. 8 facing west, awaiting to turn south on Schmidt Road. Wangerin was struck from behind by a maroon Chrysler Town and Country minivan, operated by Dena Pichelman of Barron. After striking Wangerin’s vehicle, Pichelman ended up in oncoming traffic where she was struck by an eastbound Black Ford F-150, driven by Jerry Gerber of Rice Lake.

Wangerin was extricated from her vehicle by the Ladysmith Fire Department and was then transported by Rusk County Ambulance to Marshfield Medical Center-Ladysmith. She was then airlifted to Marshfield. Her condition is unknown at this time.

The other two drivers were treated and released.

The highway was closed and traffic routed around the crash scene during the rescue work and clean-up. The road was reopened at 9:40 a.m., about one hour after the first report of the incident.

The Ladysmith Fire Department, Bruce Fire Department, Ladysmith Police Department, Jerry’s Automotive, Rusk County Ambulance, LifeLink III and Rusk County Sheriff’s Office responded.

This incident remains under investigation by the Rusk County Sheriff’s Office.