By Shereen Siewert

A 71-year-old man is dead and a 78-year-old woman is in critical condition following a crash Monday in the Marathon County town of Franzen.

The crash was reported at about 7:30 p.m. on Hwy. 49 at CTH VV at Sliding Road. According to a traffic alert from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, northbound Hwy. 49 remains closed as of 10:15 p.m. Monday.

Initial reports say the man who died was driving a vehicle north on Hwy. 49 when he rear-ended a potato truck. His passenger was airlifted to a hospital for treatment of life-threatening injuries and was last listed in critical condition.

The driver of the potato truck was not injured in the crash, which remains under investigation by the Marathon County Sheriff’s Department and the Wisconsin State Patrol. The Wittenberg Fire Department assisted at the scene.