At about 6:11 p.m. Friday, August 10, the Winnebago County Sheriff's Office Communications Center received 911 a call about an erratic driver in a yellow Ford Mustang convertible, traveling northbound on Highway 45. As the sheriff's office was trying to pinpoint the changing location the erratic driver, the vehicle left Highway 45 and crashed north of Highway 116 in the town of Winneconne.
Several witnesses immediately tried to render aid, and later provided statements indicating that the vehicle had been traveling at an excessive speed, lost control, entered the east side ditch line and rolled onto its top.
The driver of the vehicle, Steven Brownell, 58 who has residences in Larsen and Milwaukee, was extricated and transported by Theda Star to the hospital with life-threatening injuries.
Kage Prince Brownell, 13, of Lancaster, Ohio, was transported via ambulance and treated for serious injuries. Kherington Brownell, 10, also from Lancaster, Ohio, died at the scene as a result of injuries sustained during the crash.
It is believed that alcohol, coupled with excessive speed, were factors in the crash. No other vehicles were involved in the crash.
Northbound Highway 45 was closed for 4.5 hours for investigation and cleanup.
In a news release, the Sheriff's Office released this statement:
This was a horrendous event for all public safety personnel involved. Several of us have children these ages. From dispatchers, to three separate law enforcement agencies, to the fire department and first responder personnel, ambulance paramedics, helicopter pilot and flight nurse, wrecker service members, crash reconstruction team members, and multiple witnesses who immediately attempted to render aid...this was horrible to have to experience. Children are absolutely not supposed to die like this. Our deepest condolences go out to the family.
Winneconne Police Department, Wisconsin State Patrol, Winneconne-Poygan Fire District firefighters and first responders, Oshkosh Fire Department, Theda Star, Winnebago County Highway Department, and the Winnebago County Coroner’s Office assisted at the scene, while staff at Theda Clark hospital assisted in comforting family members.