WESTBY — A vehicle pulled in front of a loaded milk truck at 7:30 a.m. Thursday on Hwy. 27 north of Westby, leading to a three-vehicle crash that left four people with injuries, authorities said.
According to the Vernon County Sheriff’s Department, a vehicle driven by Justin D. Zierfus, 18, rural Westby, pulled from a stop sign at Saugstad Road into the path of a southbound loaded milk truck driven by Norman L. Hemmersbach, 55, Westby.
The milk truck struck Zierfus’ vehicle on the front passenger side. Zierfus’ vehicle spun, and the rear passenger side hit the milk truck’s rear wheels. Zierfus’ vehicle was then thrown into the path of a northbound pick-up truck driven by David P. Lorenz, 45, Chippewa Falls. The Lorenz vehicle had two passengers, Sampson J. Fleming, 20, and Robert P. Sutton, 36, both of Chippewa Falls. The Lorenz vehicle hit Zierfus’ vehicle head-on.
Zierfus’ vehicle spun out of control and came to rest in a ditch. Lorenz’ vehicle came to rest in the northbound lane of Hwy. 27. Hemmersbach’s milk truck rolled over and came to rest in a ditch.
Sutton was airlifted to Gundersen Health System in La Crosse by Med Link Air. Lorenz, and Zierfus were transported to Vernon Memorial Healthcare in Viroqua. Lorenz sustained a substantial foot injury, according to the sheriff’s department. Zierfus sustained minor injuries to his knees and arms. Hemmersbach was taken to Gundersen Heath System by private vehicle.
Condition reports on Sutton and Hemmersbach were unavailable Thursday afternoon.
According to the sheriff’s department, the accident began because Zierfus “failed to yield the right of way” to the milk truck Hemmersbach was driving.
All vehicles were towed from the scene. Zierfus, Hemmersbach, Lorenz, Fleming were wearing their seat belts. Robert Sutton was not wearing his seat belt at the time of the crash.
Assisting were the Westby Fire Department, Westby First Responders, Westby Police Department, Westby Street Department, Wisconsin State Patrol, Wisconsin DNR, Vernon County Highway Department and Tri-State Ambulance.
The crash remains under investigation.