CHETEK — A van struck a parked squad car Friday on U.S. 53 near Chetek, causing the three people in the van and the sheriff’s deputy to be sent to nearby hospitals to be treated for non-life-threatening injuries.
The crash occurred at 2:33 p.m. Friday in the highway’s northbound lanes, said Barron County Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald. The deputy had his emergency lights on while blocking a lane of traffic, slowing down cars while a tow truck in front of him was removing a damaged vehicle from a previous crash.
While the deputy was sitting in his car, his vehicle was rear-ended by the van, which was passing another car that was slowing down because of the prior accident.
“We don’t have a ton of damage (to our car), but it hit him at 60 miles per hour in the back of the squad,” Fitzgerald said. “There was more damage to the van.”
All four people were released from the hospital Friday, he said. The officer did return to the hospital Saturday for a checkup but is otherwise OK, Fitzgerald said.
The Chetek Police Department and Chetek Fire Department assisted in handling the crash. Fitzgerald said it will be up to the Chetek police to determine if the van driver should be cited for causing the crash.
“This serves as a good reminder that you need to slow down and move over when you see an emergency vehicle — law enforcement, fire, EMS — on the side of the road or you could be cited for failing to move over for the emergency vehicle,” Fitzgerald said.