Family, friends remember woman killed in Portage County crash - WFXS, MyFoxWausau - News and Weather for Wausau, WI

Family, friends remember woman killed in Portage County crash


Two 21-year-old women were killed Saturday in an early morning crash in the Town of Linwood. Portage County Sheriff's officials say alcohol and speed were factors in the crash.

Four people were inside the truck when it rolled into several trees on rural Gumz Road.

Police say the driver, 22-year-old Tim Saavedra of Loyal, was arrested after the crash. He's currently being held at the Portage County Jail.

Another man, Lee Hogan, 21, was trapped in the truck and flown to Ministry St. Joseph's Hospital in Marshfield.

The two women who died had been seated in the back seat of the truck's cab.

One of them was 21-year-old Stephanie Eberhardt. Her mother and one of her closest friends headed to the scene just hours after the crash, to try and make sense of what happened.

"She lived life to the fullest. I guess that's why she had to cram everything in such a short time," said Tracey Hanson, Eberhardt's Mother. "She liked to fight with me a lot and yet I knew she loved me. We were very close."

"I was heartbroken, devastated, completely just in shock," said Eberhardt's former classmate and close friend Abby Johnson. "She was a great person."

Another one of the girls' former Lincoln High School classmates, Melissa Peterson, 21, was also killed in the crash.

"It's a difficult thing," said Sgt. Kevin Sorenson with the Portage County Sheriff's Department.

First responders, including Rudolph Fire and Rescue, spent hours at the scene after the crash was reported by the driver just before 2:30 a.m.

Investigators then spent time reconstructing the crash to find out what happened.

"He was probably exceeding 70 mph when he lost control and went off the road and struck the trees...collapsed the roof and caved in on the occupants." said Sgt. Sorenson.

He said in 29 years on the job, this is one of the worst crashes he's seen.

"Really a senseless accident that should never have happened, but a split second decision to drive too fast and having alcohol on board, it was just a bad decision that's going to affect a lot of people," he said.

Tracey Hanson and her friends and family are now trying to move on.

"It's going to be very hard because she was such a fun-loving person," she said.

"I want to be there for her and her family because they've always been there for me," said Johnson.

Sheriff's officials told us the crash is still under investigation.

The driver, Tim Saavedra, is being held at the Portage County Jail. Portage County Sheriff's officials are recommending charges of homicide by intoxicated use of a vehicle and causing injury by intoxicated use of a vehicle.



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