EAU CLAIRE, Wisconsin (WQOW) - Three serious crashes on Interstate-94 in two days. In all, three people have died. The first fatal crash happened on Monday, (7/30) two New Richmond teens were killed when their SUV rear-ended a semi that was stopped in traffic near Hudson. Two other teens were hurt one with life-threatening injures.
Then Tuesday, a woman from Green Bay was critically injured when her SUV went off the road in Hammond then went through the median and collided with a semi.
The third accident happened on Tuesday night. A Minnesota driver was killed when his semi rear-ended another and then caught fire. The crash happened near Menomonie. The 43-year old Minnesota driver died. The other driver was not injured.
Now, the State Patrol and the DOT are examining what they can do in light of what's happened this week. There was a meeting in Eau Claire on Wednesday about safety.
"There's a lot of challenges out there. We know that the most dangerous thing you can do in a day is get in your vehicle. Unfortunately it's been more proven this past week then ever before for our area," says Lt. Jeff Lorentz of the Wisconsin State Patrol.
Eighty-thousand cars cross over this bridge on I-94 between Minnesota and Wisconsin every day.
"The volumes that you find during mid-week are the volumes that we had 20 years ago only on Fridays and Sundays. But you're getting the same volume Monday through Thursdays, there's so much traffic out there," continued Lorentz.
And many of those drivers have to snake their way through construction zone after construction zone.
Lorentz: "We have a tremendous amount of construction in the area. You couple that with high volumes, and you're going to see a lot of challenges out there for the drivers."
Now, the State Patrol and the Department of Transportation is investigating whether more can be done to prevent crashes. A similar investigation was done back in May when a 22-year-old was killed near Hammond on I-94.
"We added some signage, we added some patrol, we added those speed indicator signs so that you would know your speed coming into construction zones as kind of a reminder, a mental alert," explains Lorentz.
The State Patrol adds patrol shifts every summer and allows overtime during construction season.
"When I look at the events we've had, we've had more that have occurred outside the construction zones than have occurred inside the construction zones. So why do they happen at milepost 13 and a half? Why do they happen at mile post 41? You might never know the why's of it, but all these things are being investigated," conclude Lorentz.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says more than 7,600 people died in traffic accidents during the first quarter of 2012.
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