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No charges will be filed in fatal crash March 27, 2023, that killed Jerry Priesgen

June 1, 2023 – Washington Co., WI – The Washington County Sheriff said no charges will be filed against the driver who rear-ended a vehicle March 27, 2023 on Highway 33 at Alpine Drive that ended in the death of another motorist.

Jerry Priesgen, 61, was killed in an automobile crash.

According to the Washington County Sheriff the accident happened at 1:15 p.m.  Friends say that’s when Priesgen was going home for lunch. He was in the lead vehicle, slowed and came to a stop to make a left turn onto Alpine Drive.  The second vehicle, occupied only by the driver, failed to stop for the lead vehicle making the left-hand turn and rear-ended Priesgen’s stopped vehicle which then went into the oncoming lane of traffic, as a result of the collision, and struck a semi-truck which was westbound on Highway 33.

 

Washington County Sheriff Martin Schulteis said, “After consultation with the DA’s Office the operator of the vehicle that rear-ended the victim was cited with inattentive driving and following too closely.”

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“The at-fault driver admitted to performing a task not related to driving and was cited for inattentive driving. THE DEFENDANT also OPERATED THE VEHICLE WITHOUT ENOUGH DISTANCE TO REACT TO THE CONDITIONS OF THE HIGHWAY and was cited for following too close. A technical download of the cell phone was not able to substantiate his phone was in use at the time of the crash.  Drug Recognition expert was utilized. No drugs or alcohol suspected but blood results are pending,” said Schulteis.

Questioned whether the fact a person was killed in the accident and whether it would bring about more charges, Schulteis said, “Every case is different and needs to be assessed on the driver’s conduct prior to the crash and not necessarily on the outcome of the accident.

“To substantiate a more serious criminal charge we would have to provide our district attorney’s office with a case to prove either criminal negligence or recklessness.  After consultation with the DA, we did not believe we had enough evidence to support either criminal charge. In this case the driver indicated he was reaching for a drink and was distracted.”

The at fault driver has been identified as a 35-year-old man from Allenton.

“Criminal negligence involves more than ordinary carelessness, inattention or mistake in judgment,” said Schulteis. “Common examples of criminal negligence resulting in death could be texting while driving a motor vehicle at top speeds in a crowded neighborhood, firing a deadly weapon in the air at a crowded celebration or leaving a child in an unattended car in hot weather.

“Criminal recklessness means that the actor creates an unreasonable and substantial risk of death or great bodily harm to another human being and the actor is aware of that risk.  A common example of this would be intentionally running a stop sign at high speeds and causing a deadly accident.”

This is a working story and more information will be posted when details are available.

Below is a previous story regarding Priesgen’s obituary and funeral service.

Heaven gained another angel for the heavenly racetrack. Jerry “Sonny” was born on April 23, 1961, in Hustisford, WI to Jerome and Mary Ann (nee Stommel) Priesgen.
Photo courtesy Sleeveless Bob Photography

Jerry had a passion for racing as a driver, car builder, and steward of the sport, Jerry devoted his life to helping within the Wisconsin racing community. Working in motorsports at Slinger Speedway, Beaver Dam Raceway, as well as other motorsports related venues was his calling for most of his life.

Jerry loved his life partner Carolyn for whom could be seen together almost every race event or banquet, and together Jerry and Carolyn would help each other thru life one race at a time for 38 years, Jerry loved the social interactions of co-hosting a local racing radio show highlighting local and regional racing racers, fans, and special events.

He loved his slot car racing friends, building projects in his shop, and restoring his old race car. Jerry also worked at Zuern Building Products in Allenton where he was an inside salesman for 36 years.

He loved his work family and the customers he interacted with. Jerry also served his community as a civil servant for many years as a past town of Addison supervisor and presently as town of Addison zoning chairperson.

Jerry will be forever remembered for his endless kindness, good will, positive attitude, selfless humbleness, incredible intelligence, witty humor, hard work ethic, honesty, and his “help you in any way possible, make it a great day” spirit.

Jerry was one of a kind.

Jerry’s contributions to Wisconsin motorsports has touched and changed the lives of so many people in a positive way. He will forever be remembered as “Pink Hat”. The pink hat he wore at all of the racing events he worked at was unmistakenly Jerry.

Jerry is survived by his life-long-companion of 38 years, Carolyn Scharrer; his father Jerome Priesgen, brothers, Tony and sister-in-law Rochelle Priesgen, Carl Priesgen and partner Donna, brother Ken Priesgen and partner Sarah; niece and nephew, Carrie and Kody Priesgen; great-niece Madison and great-nephew Ryker. Jerome is further survived by other relatives and many friends.

Jerry is preceded in death by his mother, Mary Ann E. Priesgen (nee Stommel).

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 5 p.m. on Monday, April 3, 2023 at Resurrection Catholic Church, 215 Main Street, Allenton WI, 53002, with Rev. Richard Stoffel presiding. Visitation will be at the church prior on Monday, April 3 from 1 p.m. until 4:45 p.m. Interment will be Tuesday, April 4, 2023 at 10 a.m. at Sacred Heart Cemetery in Allenton.

In lieu of flowers, memorials are appreciated to the family as they will be setting up a scholarship in Jerome’s name for a future racer.

A special thank you to the Zuern Family, Zuern building Products Team, Allenton Rescue Team, Brenda Scharrer.

David Mccardle – “Short track racing definitely lost a great and passionate man for the sport”
He was known as the man in the pink hat, and was a stickler for following rules and regulations, but he was much loved.

According to MSA Sprints – “God must have needed a tech person at the Golden Speedway. It is with a heavy heart that I post the loss of a long time MSA official. Jerry Priesgen was killed in a car accident on Monday, March 27. Jerry was the MSA Competition Director from 1999 – 2004. He was instrumental in writing the MSA rule book and procedures. After Jerry was no longer competition director, he continued to tech engines for the drivers of MSA to present and was an official at several other race tracks in WI. WI racing has lost another good one. RIP Jerry.”

 

Aside from the track, Priesgen was also a familiar face at Zuern Building Products in Allenton, WI.

A statement from Zuern was posted on social media:

It is with a heavy heart that we announce the passing of Jerry, our beloved colleague, friend, & family. Jerry was a fixture at Zuern since 1987, and his humble demeanor, wealth of knowledge, and “make it a great day” statements will be greatly missed.
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Jerry was a true friend, always willing to help others and share his knowledge. He was a dedicated team player, and his dedication to Zuern was evident in everything he did. The Allenton team will never be the same, we will miss Jerry rattling off the correct item number or customer’s phone number, the chatter about racing, his endless knowledge, and most of all his smile and presence. He was also a kind and compassionate person, always willing to lend a listening ear or offer a helping hand.
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Jerry’s passing is a great loss to our team, and we will all miss him dearly. However, we can honor his memory by carrying on his legacy of making every day a great day. Let us all strive to be the kind of people that Jerry was, and make the world a better place.
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Please keep Jerry’s life partner, Carolyn, his family, friends, and our Zuern team in your prayers.
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Lots of love to the Bear…❤️🐻
The Zuern Family & Team

 Ryan Kuhn – “You were the guy that helped us push to get Hartford Snocross Racing on the maps to help the snomobile community. You were very dedicated in helping so many people and loved asking you racing questions at the counter after a Slinger Nationals race. Gonna miss seeing you at the service counter at Zuerns.”

 

Christine Kuhl – You were one in a million! Kind, smart, funny and always my safety net at work. You were always thinking of others, and always had a good story to tell. You will be greatly missed; I can’t even imagine Zuerns without you.

David Kinjerski said of the image below, “These stickers will be available and free at Beaver Dam Raceway, Slinger Super Speedway, as well as with the IRA Series.”

Jerry

According to the Washington County Sheriff the accident happened at 1:15 p.m.  Friends say that’s when Priesgen was going home for lunch. He was in the lead vehicle, slowed and came to a stop to make a left turn onto Alpine Drive.  The second vehicle, occupied only by the driver, failed to stop for the lead vehicle making the left-hand turn and rear-ended Priesgen’s stopped vehicle which then went into the oncoming lane of traffic, as a result of the collision, and struck a semi-truck which was westbound on Highway 33.

Deputies from the Washington County Sheriff’s Office along with the Allenton Fire Department responded to the scene.

Upon arrival of emergency personnel, it was determined the operator of one of the vehicles was severely injured. Flight for Life was requested, landed on Highway 33 and the injured subject was ultimately transport to Froedtert Wauwatosa by Allenton Fire.

Later, the Washington County Sheriff’s Office was notified by staff at Froedtert Hospital that the operator in the lead car was deceased.  The operator of the semi-truck and vehicle behind the lead car were not transported by rescue.

 

The crash remains under investigation by the Washington County Sheriff’s Office. This is the third fatal crash in Washington County in 2023.

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