By Shereen Siewert
Seven people injured in a crash between a semi tractor trailer and a passenger van in Adams County were high school students from Wauwatosa, including five members of a swim team.
The crash was reported at about 8:15 p.m. Dec. 22 on CTH Z and Hwy. 21 in the town of Strongs Prairie. According to the Adams County Sheriff’s Department, the van carrying the teens was headed north on CTH Z when the driver failed to stop at a stop sign and struck a westbound semi.
Five people were transported by medical helicopter to hospitals, while two were transported by ground.
Injured in the crash are Keaton Begos, Eli Cruz, Damien Gauthier, Christopher Grieb, Alex Gruel, Dylan Hopkins and Nathanial Mowery. Of the seven high school seniors only one, Begos, escaped serious injury.
All seven victims are close friends. Five of the seven teens were members of the Wauwatosa East/West Co-Op team.
A Go Fund Me campaign, launched by Heidi Hegwood, has so far raised more than $13,000 to hep with medical expenses.
“What should’ve been a joyous time of the year quickly turned into the most challenging time of their lives,” Hegwood wrote as part of the campaign. “All seven boys are very close friends and were always seen around school with each other. Everyday they ate lunch together, hung out regularly and are truly the closest of friends.
Donors can visit the Go Fund Me page to donate. To donate to an individual student, donors can mail a check to Wauwatosa West High School, 11400 W Center St., Wauwatosa WI, 53222. Checks should be made out to the individual student and will be dropped off at the student’s home.
Injuries ranged from concussions to skull fractures and bleeding on the brain. One victim remains hospitalized in Madison.
“The road ahead of them is full of hurdles for all of the boys and we’d like your support in allowing them to focus on each boy’s recovery, without worries of where the money is going to come from for rising medical bills, P.T., physical, mental help and basic living expenses,” Hegwood said.