UPDATE: Victims identified in deadly road washout in Clark Co. - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

UPDATE: Victims identified in deadly road washout in Clark Co.

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CLARK COUNTY (WAOW) -

Three people were killed in Clark County, after heavy rain washed out stretch of highway.

Authorities say 56-year-old Thomas Jurceka and 57-year-old Susan Jurceka of Milwaukee died, along with 24-year-old Mary Malinowski of Thorp.

The crashed happened on Highway M near Neillsville.

Chief Deputy James Backus tells Newsline 9 that he was the first to arrive on scene, after passing drivers called 911 to report the washout.

"It's a helpless feeling to drive up and know you have to keep yourself safe and others who drive up," Backus told us.

A suburban carrying two of the victims and a car with one victim plunged down 12 feet.

Pictures released by the Clark County Sheriff's Department show the devastation of what happened.

"I came up and you see one car sitting on top of the other, and there was blacktop falling it," Backus explains.

No skid marks led up to the crash scene, leading investigators to believe the drivers had no idea of the danger they faced.

Heavy rains fell Thursday, causing creeks and rivers in the area to rise.

Investigators are now trying determine what conditions were like when the crash happened.

"We've had a lot of rain since Friday," says Michelle Hartness of the Clark County Emergency Government. "We are checking to see how much the National Weather Service says. Two and a half inches but it might be more than that right here." 

Within the past couple of years, Clark County has posted roads at high risk for flooding and washouts.

There is one just north of the crash scene, which was not considered at risk.

"It was a great surprise," Hartness tells us. "We have areas that are risky and this isn't one, and here we sit with this."

For now many questions remain about how and why this happened. What we do know is it cost three people their lives.

 

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