Amy Miller of Cedarburg and Paul Woida were identified as the victims of the fatal traffic crash in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin. She was a married mother of three remembered as a “kind soul.” He was an 85-year-old widower from Milwaukee.
The crash victims were identified by the Milwaukee County Medical Examiner’s office, which released Miller’s and Woida’s names in a report emailed to Heavy. Miller was 40. Woida was 85.
Of Amy Miller, a friend wrote on Facebook, “My heart hurts so much hearing about the passing of Amy Miller. She was a such a kind soul and her son Sawyer would always bring the smiles during basketball! I pray the Millers find peace in these trying times!!”
The crash took the lives of three people along a busy intersection, when, the police chief said in a news conference, a City of Milwaukee Department of Public Works vehicle slammed into cars stopped in traffic. They burst into flames. The DPW truck driver, a woman per the report, has not yet been identified.
“The driver of the DPW vehicle has been tentatively identified as a 64 year old female from Milwaukee. We are still awaiting positive ID so we will not be releasing her name. Autopsies were done today and the cause of death for all three is pending,” Karen Domagalski, spokeswoman for the medical examiner’s office, told Heavy in an email.
The Wauwatosa police chief, James MacGillis, confirmed in the news conference that three people were dead in the afternoon crash, which occurred on December 13, 2022. Two others were injured but their conditions were not known.
The cause of the crash is not clear. The DPW driver is among the three who died.
Here’s what you need to know:
Amy Miller, Cedarburg
Amy L. Miller was from Cedarburg. “She was the driver and sole occupant of a grey 2019 GMC Yukon XL,” the report says.
A friend wrote on Facebook, “Such a great family I’ve gotten to know through Wildcats Camp. Such a tragic and unexpected loss. Praying hard for God to comfort them.”
Her Facebook page shows that she was married with three kids.
“It was not known if any restraints were used in the vehicle, or if the airbags deployed given the extent of fire damage to the vehicle. Amy was transported to Froedtert Hospital where she was pronounced dead at 1236 hours.”
“This 85 year old male was the driver and sole occupant of a vehicle that was struck in the midst of an accident caused by a City of Milwaukee Department of Public Works truck. He died on scene despite resuscitative efforts,” the report says.
When Woida was initially extracted from his vehicle, he was breathing with a strong central pulse, but he soon stopped breathing.
“PM McGuire stated Paul was removed from a midsized SUV, possibly a Toyota. There were three other civilian vehicles and a Department of Public Works (DPW) truck involved in this accident. All of the vehicles caught fire, but Paul was removed from his vehicle before the fires started. He was not burned,” the report says.
The report says Woida was from Milwaukee. “He was the driver and sole occupant of a grey 2014 Toyota Rav 4… He was belted and airbags were deployed when a bystander removed him from his vehicle prior to EMS arrival.”
He was widowed with a son living in Indiana. His wife died in 2016. She was a dental assistant and the longtime Secretary/Treasurer of the Milwaukee Ileostomy and Colostomy Association (MICA), according to her obituary.
The Chief Says the DPW Truck Crashed Into Cars Stopped in Traffic
According to MacGillis, the fatal crash occurred when the DPW truck slammed into vehicles that were stopped in traffic. The victims were not named; two other people were taken to the hospital, but their conditions are not clear, the chief said.
The heavy DPW truck “collided with several vehicles which were stopped in traffic,” said the chief, who added that the three deceased victims were all adults.
He said that 10 vehicles were involved in the crash.
“Our hearts go out to the families of the deceased, the injured and those who witnessed this horrific crash today,” the chief said.
WISN-TV journalist Nick Bohr tweeted that the victim vehicles were at a stoplight and the DPW vehicle was traveling between 50 and 80 miles per hour when it crashed into them, per witness accounts. MacGillis was asked about the speed, and he declined to comment, saying it was under investigation. He also would not comment on whether the driver of the DPW truck had a medical emergency.
According to the police chief, there were two accidents in short order involving the DPW truck near Mayfair Mall, a busy shopping mall located in Wauwatosa, which is a suburban city adjacent to the City of Milwaukee.
First, the DPW vehicle was involved in a minor crash at Mayfair and Watertown Plank Roads, a short distance from the scene of the fatal crash at North Mayfair Road and West Wisconsin Avenue, he said.
The 911 calls began flooding the Wauwatosa Police Department around 12:05 p.m. on Tuesday, December 13, 2022, he said, first reporting the minor crash and then reporting the major one, in which vehicles burst into flames.
He said that the DPW truck drove away from the scene of the first crash, and that bystanders gave aid to victims in the second crash.
The victims’ names have not yet been released. It’s also not clear whether they were in different vehicles.
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