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UPDATE 12/15: Woman killed in Monday's I-94 crash was wearing seat belt, authorities say

Brookfield resident Cheryl Gromacki, 65, Brookfield, was the driver of a Chevy Equinox that traveled through and across the median and collided with two cars in the westbound lane. Gromacki, who was wearing a seat belt, was ejected from the vehicle. She was transported to Regions Hospital by ambulance, but died due to her injuries. (Photo by Jordan Willi)1 / 4
A multi-car accident shut down I-94 westbound Monday morning. 2 / 4
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UPDATE 12/15

Cheryl Gromacki, 65, of Brookfield was wearing a seat belt when her Chevy Equinox crossed the median and struck two vehicles Dec. 12 on I-94 near Baldwin, according to a Wisconsin State Patrol news release. Gromacki was ejected from the vehicle and later died from her injuries at a Twin Cities hospital, the release states.

An earlier State Patrol report indicated Gromacki was not wearing her seat belt at the time of the crash.

UPDATE 12/14

The names of the individuals involved in a Monday, Dec. 12, multi-vehicle accident on I-94 near Baldwin were released Wednesday, Dec. 14, by the Wisconsin State Patrol.

Brookfield resident Cheryl Gromacki, 65, died in the accident, while two others sustained life threatening injuries in the multiple vehicle accident that occurred at 8:50 a.m. Monday, Dec. 12, according to the updated news release issued by the State Patrol Northwest Region Eau Claire Post.  

Gromacki was the driver of a Chevy Equinox that traveled through and across the median and collided with two cars in the westbound lane. Gromacki was ejected from the vehicle. She was transported to Regions Hospital by ambulance.

The occupants of a Toyota Prius, Lori Hoekstra, 55, of Wilson, and Sheryle Schnegerlberger, 59, Deer Park, sustained life threatening injuries from the crash and were transported to Regions Hospital in St. Paul. The driver, and only occupant of the Ford Fusion, was Ronald Rasmussen, 66, of Holcombe. Rasmussen’s injuries were not life threatening and he was transported to River Falls Hospital. All occupants of the Prius and Fusion were wearing their seat belts.

The final vehicle involved in the crash was a Peterbilt semi-tractor driven by Jason Glover, 41, of Deerfield. The semi crashed into the Prius and Equinox. Glover was not injured in the crash and was wearing his seat belt.

Initial Press Release 12/12

One woman is dead and three others were injured after a multiple vehicle accident on I-94 at US 63N near Baldwin which occurred at 8:50 a.m. on Monday, Dec. 12, according to a press release sent out by the Wisconsin State Patrol Northwest Region Eau Claire Post at 11:53 a.m. A detour was set up from Exit 19 north to US 12, west to County T, the south to return drivers to I-94. The interstate has been reopened, according to reports on the police scanner. 

"Right now, we know that it wasn't weather related because the roads were good in that area, so we aren't sure what caused the woman to go through the median and into oncoming traffic," Danielson said. "The alternate route has been working as it should, but we are thinking the interstate should be reopened in about half an hour."

According to the press release from the State Patrol: 

"The details of the crash are as follows: 

At approximately 8:45 a.m. today on I-94 in St. Croix County just west of Baldwin, an eastbound Chevy Equinox traveled through the median, and struck a west bound Toyota Prius and a Ford Fusion. The Chevy and the Toyota were then struck by a westbound semi-tractor trailer unit. The female driver of the Chevy was ejected from her vehicle. Two other subjects were trapped in the Toyota and needed to be extracted by recuse units. The ejected driver was transported to Regions hospital in St. Paul but succumbed to her injuries there. The two occupants of the Toyota were also transported to Regions with serious injuries. The driver of the Ford was transported to River Falls Hospital with minor injuries. I-94 westbound was shut down for the crash investigation and the posted alternate route was activated. The crash is still under investigation by the Wisconsin State Patrol. Assisting agencies included St. Croix Sherriffs Dep, Baldwin-Woodville Fire and EMS."

Danielson said that the name of the driver female driver will be released as soon as their family has been notified. However, the woman, who is a Wisconsin resident, is not from the area which Danielson said will take longer to contact family, so an announcement of the person's name isn't expected until later tonight or tomorrow morning. 

Initial Report

A multi-vehicle accident shut down the westbound lanes of I-94 at US 63 near Baldwin Monday morning. A detour is set up from Exit 19 north to US 12, west to County T, the south to return drivers to I-94.

The call for EMS from multiple area departments, including Hudson, River Falls and New Richmond, went out around 9 a.m. with reports from the scanner stating that a multiple vehicle accident had occurred at the 18 ½ mile marker just west of Baldwin.

Eastbound traffic was also slowed while first responders worked to free the occupants of the vehicles and get them into ambulances. According to scanner reports, two ambulances left the scene headed for Regions Hospital, while another headed to River Falls Hospital.

According to information gathered from the police scanners, hazmat was called to the scene shortly after the occupants of the vehicles were taken away from the scene to check on a 55 gallon drum of highly corrosive materials that was being hauled by a semi which had slid to the front of the trailer when the semi came to a stop. Hazmat arrived on scene at 10:27 a.m. to help responders decide how best to deal with the materials.

A report at 10:37 a.m. from the scanner said the responders figured the highway would be closed for several hours as State Patrol investigated the accident and the hazmat team dealt with the corrosive materials.

Jordan Willi
Jordan Willi is a reporter for the New Richmond News. Previously, he worked as a sports reporter at the Worthington Daily Globe in Worthington, Minnesota. He also interned at the Hudson Star Observer for two summers and contributed to the Bison Illustrated sports magazine at North Dakota State University.
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