• August 19, 2022

Frederick Steffen Killed in Crash with Dump Truck on I-43 in Milwaukee County, WI

UPDATE (August 22, 2022): Reports have identified the man who died in this accident as 74-year-old Frederick Steffen.

The same reports indicate that Steffen's vintage Triumph coupe may have stalled in the travel lanes of the road just before the dump truck arrived and ran it over. His wife told investigators that the car had just come from a repair shop who allegedly claimed to have fixed a problem with the starter, and it stalled on the freeway as Steffen drove it back home.

Milwaukee County, WI — August 18, 2022, a 74-year-old man died in a collision with a dump truck on Interstate 43 in Milwaukee County.

According to reports the incident happened around 4:30 p.m. on eastbound I-43 near 27th Street. Preliminary investigation suggests only that a dump truck may have crashed into or rolled over on a convertible coupe, thought to be a vintage Triumph TR6 from photos of the scene.

The car's driver was fatally injured in the crash. No other injuries were reported.

The investigation is ongoing. No further information is currently available.

Commentary on Frederick Steffen Accident in Milwaukee County

UPDATE (August 22, 2022): Later reports shed some more light on what happened on the interstate, but along with those facts come some troubling new questions. If the repair shop said they fixed the starter, how did the car fail and stop on the highway right after leaving? How long was it stopped in the lane before the dump truck approached? Did the truck driver take any evasive action or try to stop, or did they simply plow into the coupe? Reports mention the truck was traveling at "a high rate of speed," but exactly how fast was that?

I'm not eager to point fingers after this accident but the way things are framed in the news it seems like there might be lingering questions about whether some professionals did their jobs right--both the truck driver and the staff of the repair shop. If a careful investigation found they either did or failed to do something that could have prevented this terrible wreck, there may be questions of negligence to resolve. Only time and further analysis could say, so I hope police will commit the needed resources to get to the bottom of things.

Frederick Steffen Killed in Milwaukee County, WI Crash with Dump Truck

ORIGINAL: Right now there's essentially no telling how this terrible incident happened. Authorities are still trying to work out the basics and news reports are pretty much at the mercy of what police can tell them, so just about everyone's in the dark so far.

I can only hope that police investigators will give this matter the careful and thorough attention it deserves. Little as I like saying it, many wrecks only get a basic once-over at the scene and a search for signs of the most common issues like driver distraction or speeding. Police compile what they find into a "best guess" that goes into reports, then they move on.

The truth is that many wrecks, particularly those involving commercial trucks, are often far more complex than a few vague sentences in the news makes them seem. To be sure the whole truth is found someone with the right equipment and training may need to step in and try to connect more dots. Click below to learn more about some of the pitfalls of a standard police traffic investigation.

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