Fatal crashes in Darien, Whitewater lead to two deaths, one OWI arrest

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Staff | October 14, 2013

Two separate fatal crashes on Sunday afternoon in the towns of Darien and Whitewater left a 65-year-old Illinois man and a 40-year-old Whitewater woman dead, a juvenile hospitalized, and included the OWI arrest of a 50-year-old Whitewater man, according to a news release from the Walworth County Sheriff's Office.

The first accident occurred at 3:46 p.m. on County Highway C, about three-tenths of a mile west of Clowes Road near the Rock County line in the town of Darien.

Walworth County deputies found Stephen P. Schmitz, 65, of Wheeling, Ill., had been driving a 1999 Ducati motorcycle eastbound on County Highway C when he struck a guardrail. Schmitz and the bike slid into oncoming westbound traffic and were struck by a 2003 Dodge minivan. Schmitz died at the scene.

The driver of the mini-van is identified as Tina L Langnes, age 46, of Lake Geneva.  Her passengers included Adrian J Eller, 29, of Janesville, and a juvenile boy and girl. None of the persons in the van required medical attention. 

The second accident, a two-car crash, occurred at 4:53 p.m. on Wisconsin Highway 89, south of Island Road in the town of Whitewater.

Initial investigation showed Melissa J. Patrick, 40, of Whitewater, was driving a 2005 Ford Freestyle SUV southbound on Wisconsin Highway 89 and was slowing to enter a driveway when her vehicle was hit from behind by a 2014 Chevy Malibu. The crash forced the SUV into a ditch, where it overturned. Patrick was ejected from the vehicle during the rollover. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

Patrick's female juvenile passenger was taken by ambulance to Fort Atkinson Hospital with moderate injuries.

The driver of the Chevy Malibu is identified as Craig Michael Seefeldt, age 50, of Whitewater. Charges of OWI-Homicide, OWI-Causing Injury, and Reckless Driving-Endangering Safety have been referred to the Walworth County District Attorney's, according to the release. Seefeldt remains in the Walworth County Jail at this time. 

The Sheriff's Crash Investigation Unit responded to both crashes and they remain open and under investigation at this time.

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