Around 10:20 am on Tuesday morning, a semi truck collided with a van on Highway 27 near Sparta, Wisconsin. The collision injured the driver and passenger of the van, and both were taken to nearby Franciscan Skemp hospital, where the woman passenger later died. The injuries of the van driver have been described as serious but not life-threatening. Neither his name nor the name of the deceased has been released at this time, pending further police investigation.
According to police reports from police chief Mike Kass, the van was turning left from Highway 27 onto Avon road when a semi traveling northbound on 27 collided with the smaller vehicle. The driver of the semi was 44-year-old Delbert Singer, a native of North Vernon, Indiana. Singer was not injured in the crash.
The Wisconsin State Patrol is assisting local police in reconstructing the accident, which remains under investigation. No charges have yet been filed in the matter. The accident did shut down Highway 27 for several hours while police secured the scene and performed the reconstruction work, which is now under analysis.
Accidents such as this highlight the severe danger that semi trucks can pose to smaller vehicles on a highway. The woman involved in the accident did not die from her injuries until several hours after the crash. A smaller vehicle colliding with the van might well not have killed her at all. A tractor-trailer is a massive vehicle, some weighing well over 20,000 pounds when fully loaded. There aren’t many passenger vehicles that mass more than a ton, and even that would only be a tenth of the weight of a fast-moving semi truck. Smaller vehicles have almost no chance against large semis, which is why otherwise preventable deaths and costly highway shutdowns like this one still happen.