The Wisconsin State Patrol Technical Reconstruction Unit, state Department of Justice Division of Criminal Investigation and La Crosse County Sheriff’s Department on Oct. 28 returned to Hwy. M just south of Bergum Coulee Road in the town of Hamilton to recreate a crash as described by Todd Kendhammer.
Kendhammer, 46, of West Salem told authorities he was driving north on the highway on Sept. 16 when a pipe fell from an oncoming truck and impaled the passenger side of his windshield, striking his wife. She died the next day.
Prosecutors on Dec. 6 charged Kendhammer with first-degree intentional homicide, arguing evidence and autopsy findings revealed Barbara Kendhammer suffered extensive injuries to the front and back of her head and neck inconsistent with a single blow from a pipe. Analysis of the damaged windshield showed that the pipe hit it at least once before breaking through.
During the reconstruction, authorities let a 53-inch metal pipe weighing 10.5 pounds — a replica of the one recovered after the incident — roll off an incline constructed in the bed of a pickup truck driving at different speeds during nine scenarios. Multiple cameras recorded the fall of the pipe and where it struck the pavement.
The slow motion videos were recorded on a vehicle traveling in front of the pickup used to recreate the incident. The other videos were recorded on a camera mounted on the front of the pickup used to recreate the incident.
The recordings, released by the state patrol in compliance with state open record law, begin north of the incident site. Viewers can see several parked cars on Bergum Coulee Road.