Wisconsin News

Man killed in I-90 crash near La Crosse identified

5 people injured in crash; 1 remains in critical condition

Man killed in Interstate 90 crash near La Crosse identified

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) - The La Crosse County Medical Examiner's Office confirmed the identification of the man who died from a crash on I-90 near La Crosse Thursday morning as 29-year-old Jason Songer, of La Crescent.

Five other people were injured in the six-vehicle crash that happened at about 7:50 a.m. on I-90 near mile marker 2 near La Crosse Thursday.

Wisconsin State Patrol said its preliminary investigation on Thursday found the crash happened as traffic was traveling eastbound and was merging onto I-90 into the construction zone. The dump truck was not able to slow down in time and ended up rear-ending a vehicle, causing a chain reaction.

The dump truck struck a Ford Mustang driven by Songer that was stopped in traffic, the Wisconsin State Patrol stated in a news release Friday morning. The dump truck and Mustang then moved forward and struck other vehicles also stopped in traffic.

The State Patrol said the dump truck and Mustang then traveled into the grassy median where they both caught fire. The dump truck was on top of the car. Four people were transported to Gundersen Health System in La Crosse, where one remains in critical condition. 

Susanna Ruth Harbach, 20, of Dakota, Minnesota, sustained life-threatening injuries. Four others sustained non-life-threatening injuries: Francis E. Rychtik, 35, of Arpin, Wisconsin; Richard Alan Shuda, 55, of La Crescent; Zachary Steven Serres, 26, of Brownsville, Minnesota; Zachary Albert Gronseth, 25, of Sargeant, Minnesota.

WisDOT sent a notification that the scene was cleared just after 1 p.m. Thursday and all lanes on I-90 eastbound near mile marker 2 were reopened. Traffic was diverted at Exit 2 eastbound right onto CTH B to STH 53 northbound to I-90 eastbound. WisDOT opened the I-90 westbound lanes at about 9:20 a.m. 

There were multiple emergency response teams on site including a volunteer group, the La Crosse County Mass Casualty Team. After arriving on scene Thursday, emergency response crews realized they needed more help. So they called in the help of the La Crosse County Mass Casualty Team.

"It's a group of people who can come to a disaster scene and just provide extra assistance," La Crosse County Emergency Management Coordinator Keith Butler said.

Butler said the team of about 20 volunteers come from all over La Crosse County.

"Farmington, Onalaska, Town of Campbell, Town of Shelby, West Salem," Butler said.

Volunteers need to be ready at a moments notice.

"When we page them out for an incident they respond from their work or their home just like any other emergency responder would," Butler said.

The Mass Casualty Team is made up of mostly emergency responders. The team has four trailers spread throughout La Crosse County carrying extra emergency supplies.

"Plus two support trailers with equipment that the team needs, the generators the lights and those kinds of things. So we have a total of six trailers spread out around the county ready at a moments notice," Butler said. "It doesn't really matter what kind of circumstance that's needed. We call them the Mass Casualty Team, but it's really any kind of emergency that just needs extra help, they've got it."

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