An SUV that spun out Thursday on a Wisconsin highway near Prescott slid into the path of an oncoming truck, leaving two children dead and three other people hospitalized, the Pierce County Sheriff’s Office said Friday.
Killed were the 11-year-old daughter and a 5-year-old niece of the SUV driver, who was identified Friday as Kari Milberg, 32, of Centuria, Wis.
Milberg remains hospitalized in critical condition at Regions Hospital in St. Paul.
Her 3-year-old son and a second 5-year-old niece also remained hospitalized, but no information was available on their conditions. The children’s names weren’t released.
The collision occurred about 3:40 p.m. Thursday on Hwy. 35 in Oak Grove Township, east of Hastings, the Sheriff’s Office said.
The driver of the truck, Jose Mendoza, 24, of Rockford, Ill., was not injured, nor were his two passengers.
The initial investigation determined Milberg was headed south in a 2005 Saturn Vue SUV when it rotated sideways across the roadway into the northbound lane, Sheriff Nancy Hove said. The truck collided with the rear of the SUV near 468th Avenue. Milberg’s 11-year-old daughter died at the scene, and her 5-year-old niece was declared dead at River Falls Area Hospital.
The Sheriff’s Office is investigating road conditions to determine if they were a factor. The Wisconsin State Patrol is reconstructing the accident.
Kari Milberg and her family live about an hour north of the accident scene, along Hwy. 35 in Centuria, which is in Polk County.
Milberg is a night-shift nurse and single mother, said Karen Christiansen, who lives next to the farmhouse that she rents to Milberg. Christiansen, police and others are watching over the home.
“It’s so terrible that this happened,” Christiansen said, choking up. “Her daughter was a sweet girl.”