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Five dead in post-prom crash in west central Wisconsin

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THE ASSOCIATED PRESS A Clark County investigator examines the scene of a two-vehicle collision south of Neillsville early Sunday. A car carrying four teen-agers on a prom-night outing collided with a van and both vehicles burst into flames, killing all five people inside, authorities said.

NEILLSVILLE (AP) — Students at Neillsville High School grieving the deaths of four students killed in a car crash just hours after the prom talked to counselors today to deal with the tragedy, an administrator said.

"I don't know how any school could go through the loss of some of its members and be normal the first day back. That would be difficult," Superintendent John Gaier said. "The mood is certainly somber. That is the best way to state it."

On Sunday, classmates huddled at a makeshift memorial just south of town, placing mementos and small tributes at the scene where four teen-agers died in a fiery crash that also killed another driver.

"We'll miss you," read a large sign left Sunday amid the bits of grille, heaved concrete and charred grass from the accident.

Neillsville High School junior Stacey Hohenstein said she knew all of the victims, and she had been at the spring prom with them Saturday night.

"My dad tried keeping it a secret from me, but I heard him tell my aunt that some of my classmates had died in a car crash," Hohenstein said as she dabbed away tears.

Authorities said the car carrying the four teens was traveling north on Wisconsin 95 south of Neillsville, a city of 2,600, when it collided with a van and both vehicles burst into flames about 3 a.m. Sunday.

The vehicles crashed nearly head-on in the southbound lane and caught fire, leaving all of the occupants burned beyond recognition, the Clark County Sheriff's Department said in a news release.

Sheriff Dale Olson said investigators found two empty beer cans near the scene of the crash — a straight stretch of two-lane highway — but there was no way to determine whether the cans came from either vehicle.

Tests of the victims' blood may take a week to complete, he said.

The teens had been to "some post-prom areas" but investigators were still trying to determine if those gatherings had been drinking parties, Olson said.

According to the sheriff's department, the teen-agers killed were the driver, Dylan Glebke, 17; his brother, Cole Glebke, 16; Daniel Riddle, 15; and Louella Blackdeer, 15, all of Neillsville.

Killed in the van was David Breu, 34, of Marshfield, the sheriff's department said.

Gaier said many students at the high school today took advantage of a chance to talk to counselors, social workers or local ministers who were at the school.

The school of 430 students is small enough that most students at least knew of the victims, Gaier said.

"We are just trying at this point to listen to the kids and find out where they are," he said.

The high school prom ended at midnight Saturday and all the students were invited, Gaier said.

The superintendent said he had no reports on where the students had been prior to the crash or whether alcohol may have been involved. But there were no school-sponsored after-prom gatherings or parties, he said.

"It is certainly a tragic loss for all of us," Gaier said.

In fatal accidents elsewhere:

— Virginia Cadwallader, 18, of Gleason was killed when the car she was driving collided with a van on Wisconsin 17 north of Merrill just after 3 p.m. Saturday, the Lincoln County Sheriff's Department said.

— In Milwaukee, Doris Mabry, 50, of Milwaukee was killed when hit by a vehicle as she crossed a street Saturday night, the Milwaukee County medical examiner's office said. Police said they were seeking the driver of the van that fled after the accident.


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