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Crash kills two Onalaska men

The Center for Disease Prevention and Control states that car accidents are the leading cause of death among those who are age five to 34. Fatal motor vehicle accidents in Wisconsin cost the state $9 million in medical costs and $742 million in work loss costs for a total of $751 million in one year.

Alcohol may have been a factor in a fatal car accident that claimed the lives of two 21-year-old men on a road near Onalaska, Wisconsin.

According to news sources, the two men were childhood friends. They grew up together in Holmen, graduated high school together and recently got an apartment together in Onalaska. Prior to the accident they were drinking, dining and playing pool at a local establishment.

Some time in the early morning hours, the two friends were heading north on County XX near Holland when the driver crossed the center line and lost control of the car. The police stated that the car rolled several times, during which time the passenger was thrown out of the vehicle. The driver was pinned in the vehicle. The two men remained there until about 6 a.m. when a passing motorist noticed the crash and called for help.

The childhood friends were both dead at the scene of the crash.

Police report that alcohol or speed, or both, may have been responsible for the fatal car crash. According to the CDC, about one in three crash deaths in 2009 involved drivers who were alcohol impaired. The legal limit in Wisconsin is 0.08 percent blood alcohol concentration. Although it was not mentioned in the news article, a toxicology test is typically performed in fatal accidents such as this one.

Although the families are well known to each other, the 21-year-old passenger's family may seek civil litigation for the wrongful death of their son. When a driver causes an accident due to negligence, in this case speed and alcohol, any passengers injured can seek compensation for damages including pain and suffering.

In this case, the parents of the passenger could pursue wrongful death litigation against either the driver's estate or the driver's insurance company. Given the close relationship of the two young men, the family may have a difficult decision to make.

Source: LaCrosse Tribune, "Childhood friends killed in crash," Annie Jungen, April 27, 2012

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