One dead after multiple crashes on Highway 11 Friday

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Gazette staff
Friday, February 21, 2014

Strong winds and slick roads led to a series of car accidents on Highway 11 in both Walworth and Rock counties Friday that left one person dead.

Deputies were called to an accident at 9:35 a.m. in the town of Plymouth in Rock County for a two-vehicle accident that was blocking both lanes on Highway 11 between County H and Dunbar Road, said Capt. Jude Maurer of the Rock County Sheriff's Office in a news release.

An 86-year-old Edgerton man was killed and a 69-year-old South Wayne man was transported to Mercy Hospital and Trauma Center in Janesville after a head-on collision between a semitrailer truck and a pickup, according to the news release.

The Rock County Coroner's office identified the deceased as Wendell E. Matzke, 86. No address was immediately available.

The 69-year-old was driving a 2005 Freightliner east on Highway 11 when the operator tried to swerve to the right to avoid colliding with a 2011 Chevy Silverado pickup driven by the 86-year-old, according to the release.

The pickup had crossed the centerline and entered the path of the semi for reasons that currently remain unknown, according to the release.

Following the collision, the pickup came to rest on Highway 11 while the semi overturned when entering the ditch south of Highway 11.   

Highway 11 was closed until 2:55 p.m. Friday while deputies investigated the scene and removed the vehicles. 

The road was clear of snow and ice, however, strong winds were prevalent, according to the release.

In Walworth County, two crashes and whiteout conditions prompted Walworth County authorities to close a two-mile section of Highway 11 from Highway 120 east to Clausen Road near Spring Prairie for several hours, said Scott McClory, patrol division commander at the sheriff's office.

The road reopened around 1:15 p.m. Friday, he said.

Deputies were investigating two crashes--one car versus a semitrailer truck and one five-vehicle crash involving two semitrailer trucks and three autos, McClory said.

Both crashes involved minor to moderate but no life-threatening injuries, he said.

Snow driven by wind gusts of up to 50 mph were making driving extremely hazardous, McClory said.

The names of the individuals involved were not released.

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