Funeral services will take place tomorrow, Aug. 22, 2019, at Barron, and next Tuesday, Aug. 27, at Turtle Lake, for residents of Barron and Prairie Farm who lost their lives in a one-vehicle crash Saturday, Aug. 17, along County Hwy. O near the unincorporated community of Wickware, about five miles south of Cameron.
Pronounced dead at the scene were Michelle Rae (Henk) Thompson, 50, who was presumed to be driving the 2001 Ford Escape at the time of the crash, and her passenger, Gayland J. Olson, 45, of Prairie Farm, the Wisconsin State Patrol reported.
According to Sgt. Jason Bakken of the State Patrol, the sport utility vehicle was going south on Hwy. O when it went into the oncoming lane and into the east ditch. The vehicle then vaulted a driveway embankment and struck several pine trees.
Both driver and passenger were ejected and were found deceased at the scene. Alcohol was not a factor in the incident, the State Patrol added.
Agencies responding to the scene included the Barron County Sheriff’s Department, Barron Police Department, Chetek Fire & Rescue, and Barron County Medical Examiner, the State Patrol added.
Reactions to the crash came swiftly. Barron County Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald posted a notice on social media at about 9 a.m. Saturday with information about the crash. He asked for thoughts and prayers in behalf of the families of the deceased and for the emergency responders at the scene.
The News-Shield Facebook post had been visited by more than 3,300 individuals by press time late Tuesday afternoon, Aug. 20. Visitors to the page left messages of condolences for both victims.
Reader Tonia Kurschinski was among the visitors to the site who were asked to comment about the accident.
“We lost a true friend (in) Joey (Gayland) Olson,” she said late Monday, Aug. 19. “Joey was one of kind, he had a heart of gold, and always carried a smile on his face.
“Joey would do anything for anybody if needed,” she added “He loved my girls, Andy, and me, like family. I will truly miss the laughs we shared. This little town of Dallas definitely won’t be the same without (him).”
In the obituary for Thompson (nee Henk), the daughter of Bernie and Charlie Henk, her family wrote: “(Michelle) was always so friendly and loved talking to anyone. She was great at playing pool and dancing. Those who really knew her – loved her.”
Complete obituaries can be found elsewhere in today’s News-Shield.