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June crash caused by driver's seizure


WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAU) -- A fatal three-vehicle crash in Wausau was caused by a driver having a seizure. That determination was made after about eight months of investigation.

The June 24th crash at 17th Avenue and Stewart Avenue killed 85-year-old Frances M. Wilk. She was waiting behind a straight truck at the stop light facing south. A sport utility vehicle struck the back of Wilk’s car at a high rate of speed, and pushed her under the back of the truck.

Wausau Police Captain Ben Bliven says they had to dig into the SUV driver’s medical history. They found the 51-year-old man had previously had a seizure, which caused him to lose his driver’s license in early 2012. The license was reinstated after the man was medically cleared by a doctor. Bliven says as of now, the license is cancelled and cannot be reinstated unless medically cleared to have a license again.

Crash reconstruction team members found the man’s Ford Explorer’s powertrain control module recorded a top speed of 77 miles per hour, with an impact speed of 67 miles per hour. Bliven says the reconstruction team’s study of the crash scene shows the vehicle was travelling between 65 and 83 at the time of impact.

After completing the investigation, Wausau Police consulted with the Marathon County District Attorney’s office and the Wausau City Attorney’s office. Police Chief Jeff Hardel says this is a difficult case for everyone. “Absolutely, it is a tragic situation. The (Wilk) family is not very happy with us.” No criminal statutes were violated, and no speeding ticket will be issued because of the medical condition of the driver.