Crash takes life of Soldiers Grove man

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A 19-year-old Soldiers Grove man was killed and three other teens  injured in a two-vehicle crash near Readstown early Sunday morning, according to the Vernon County Sheriff’s Office.

According to the sheriff’s office, Preston D. Nelson, 19, of rural Soldier’s Grove, was driving east around 1:20 a.m. Sunday on U.S. Hwy. 14 when he lost control of his truck. Nelson crossed the center line, made contact with another eastbound vehicle, entered the left ditch and rolled multiple times. Nelson was ejected from the vehicle and pronounced dead at the scene.

A number of passengers in the Nelson vehicle were injured, some of them seriously. Steven R. Young, 18, of rural Chaseburg, was extricated from the truck using Jaws of Life and transported by Med-Link Air to Gundersen Health System in La Crosse with serious injuries. Taylor A. VanVoorhis, 19, of La Crosse, was transported by Tri-State Ambulance to Vernon Memorial Hospital in Viroqua, then transferred to Gundersen Health System in La Crosse, also with serious injuries. Jacob W. Kent, 18, of Nekoosa was transported by private vehicle to Vernon Memorial Hospital in Viroqua with nonlife-threatening injuries and was released.

None of the occupants are believed to have been wearing seat belts.

The second vehicle was operated by Dalton R. Mikkelson, 17, of rural Viroqua, and included passengers Levin S. LeMere, 18, of rural Viroqua, and Evin D. Engen, 19, of rural Viroqua. Dalton’s truck was eastbound on U.S. Hwy. 14 when it made contact with Nelson’s truck, sustaining very minor damage. No one in Mikkelson’s truck was injured.

Assisting the sheriff’s office at the scene were the Viroqua Police Department, Wisconsin State Patrol, Readstown Fire Department, Readstown Ambulance, Viola Fire Department, Kickapoo Valley Rescue Squad, Viroqua Fire Department, Tri-State Ambulance, and Med Link Air.

A Wisconsin State Patrol report said U.S. Hwy. 14 was closed for several hours while emergency crews responded to the scene and cleared the highway.

The crash remains under investigation by the Vernon County Sheriff’s Office, the Vernon County Coroner’s Office, and the Wisconsin State Patrol. This crash marks the second 2015 traffic fatality in Vernon County.

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