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Veteran marine rescues two-year-old in deadly crash that killed nine

Nathaniel Jahn immediately sprung into action after seeing a semi collide with a van.
Posted at 8:18 AM, Mar 11, 2024

DEWHURST, WIS — Nathaniel Jahn took his usual route to work Friday morning, stopping at the intersection of Highway 95 and County Road J in Clark County.

He said what happened next was a blur.

The driver of a van turned into the intersection, right into the path of a semitrailer traveling east on 95.

“I couldn’t fathom the van still coming out knowing the semi was right there. By the time everything happened the semi smashed into the vehicle,” Jahn said, recounting those moments.

The veteran marine immediately sprung into action.

Jahn called 911 before rushing to the truck and van, which had started to catch fire.

“I heard a whimpering sound coming from next to one of the victims, under debris. It turned into a cry,” Jahn recalled.

That cry was from a two-year-old boy, Micah Schrock. He was the sole survivor of the crash. Jahn said he carried the boy away from the wreckage, waiting with him until police arrived.

The driver of the tractor-trailer was killed, and eight of the nine people in the van, including the driver of that vehicle, also died, the Clark County Sheriff’s Office said. They were all pronounced dead at the scene.

Family says that seven of the nine people killed in the crash are members of the Amish community in Burke’s Garden, Virginia. The driver of the van was also from the area.

According to an information line set up by the Amish community, these are the eight victims from Virginia:

James McCoy, roughly 45, driver of the van

Linda Byler, 44

Lydia Byler, 24

Ellen Schrock, 23

Orlah Schrock, 24

Judy Rose Schrock, 6 months old, Ellen and Orlah's daughter

Delilah Schrock, 21

Suzanna Hertzler, 18

Allen Gross is a family friend who drove the two-year-old boy's grandparents from Virginia to Wisconsin to be with him.

“He was the only survivor and was surprisingly not harmed. But he’s missing his mom. You can imagine just how hard that’s going to be,” Gross shared over a Facetime video.

Gross has created a GoFundMe to help pay for funeral expenses.

According to that information line, the group was visiting family. The driver of the van’s ex-wife said McCoy often trips for Amish people in the Burke’s Garden area.

While the crash happened in central Wisconsin, the small community of Burke’s Garden, over 900 miles away, is rallying behind the families impacted.

“We have a population of roughly 300 and I’d guess 120 of those are probably Amish. They’re a big part of our community and they’re our friends and our neighbors,” Jodi White said.

Jodi and Sara White live in the area and are raising money and donations to support the families and community. They are in need of things like paper products and non-perishable food.

“We have watched these kids grow up, the kids affected, and something tragic like this? It does something to you,” Sara White said through tears.

“We want to take care of them as they would take care of us.”

A local bank, First Sentinel Bank Labor of Love Mission, has also set up a fund in Tazewell to contribute aid to the families’ expenses.

Jodi and Sara said they’re expecting thousands of people to travel to the area in the coming weeks to pay their respects.

Here in Wisconsin, Jahn and his family created a cross and floral arrangement that they placed at the site of the crash as a memorial.

“I want the family to know how sorry I am and that I did everything I could. There was somebody there with them. And I helped the best I could,” Jahn said through tears.

Through his grief, he asked that state officials look at the design of the road and intersection.

Jahn said that traffic comes over a hill and can be hard to see at times, adding that maybe the design could be changed to avoid a tragedy like this one.

The Sheriff’s Office has not released the name of the driver of the semi-trailer.