News: Abbotsford (Athens Bridge Collapse -1954)
Contact: Robert Lipprandt
Surnames: Bargander, Jahnke, Kramm, Viegut
----Source: The Tribune - Phonograph (Abbotsford, WI) 1/13/2016
Originally published in the Abbotsford Tribune, Thursday, January 15, 1954
In the sub-zero cold, early Tuesday, Daniel Jahnke, 24, Route 2, Athens, skidded into the bridge spanning the black creek, near Athens.
In the car with him were Urban Bargander, 22, and Clarence Bargander, 18, of the town of Johnson.
The car smashed a guard rail of the two span truss type steel bridge, the west span toppled 20 feet to the creek bed and with it went the car and its passengers. The car was badly damaged, but the passengers were apparently unhurt. Jahnke faces arraignment Wednesday in county court at Wausau, on a charge of driving too fast under existing road conditions.
Another car, driven from the opposite direction, by Jack Kramm, 35, of Athens, couldn’t stop and plunged off the remaining span, somersaulting and landing upside down on the wreckage below. Kramm suffered a broken nose and sever rib fractures.
The bridge, built about 60 years ago, was reconstructed two decades later. Its replacement value is estimated at $100.000.
Fortunately for the village of Athens, the county will pay half the replacement cost because of a resolution introduced by the village president and County Superintendent Ervin F. Viegut and approved by the county board about a year ago. The resolution provided for inclusion of Athens in the county air bridge program.
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