Clintonville boy killed in crash
School remembers his positive character
By Scott Bellile
A 9-year-old Clintonville boy was killed in a car versus semi crash in Barron County on Sunday, Jan. 22.
Alex Olmsted, the son of Jerald and Lisa Olmsted, was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash.
Jerald Olmsted, 48, suffered severe injuries.
The crash occurred shortly before 4 a.m. on U.S. Highway 8, west of County Road TT and west of the city of Barron.
The initial investigation by Barron County Sheriff’s Office showed a car driven by Nicholas Rogalla, 22, of Rice Lake was traveling east on Highway 8 when it crossed the centerline and struck a westbound semi driven by Jerald Olmsted.
The semi overturned and slid into the south ditch on Highway 8. Jerald Olmsted was carrying a tanker full of milk.
Upon arrival, sheriff’s deputies were advised of two people trapped in the semi and one injured in a car.
Jerald Olmsted was extricated and taken by ambulance to Luther-Mayo Hospital with severe injuries. Rogalla was taken to the Mayo Clinic in Barron with non-life-threatening injuries.
Alex Olmsted had been trapped underneath the semi. His death was Barron County’s third traffic fatality in 2017, according to Chris Fitzgerald, Barron County sheriff.
Highway 8 was closed for 8 ½ hours by the Barron County Highway Department. The Barron County Sheriff’s Department and the Wisconsin State Patrol continue to investigate the crash.
School remembers Alex Olmsted
Tom O’Toole, district administrator for Clintonville Public School District, described Monday, Jan. 23 as a “down day” at school.
“It’s a tough situation,” he said.
The district had counselors from the school districts of Marion, Shawano and New London on site Monday to help students, as well as a counselor and social worker available for staff members. Substitute teachers were brought in to provide teachers any additional assistance in the classroom as needed.
“We had a plan and the plan has been enacted, and you do the best you can in these circumstances,” O’Toole said.
Alex Olmsted was a fourth grade student at Rexford-Longfellow Elementary School. O’Toole said Alex Olmsted left a “very, very positive impact” through his involvement in activities such as soccer and Longfellow Running Club.
Karen Petermann and Kathy Scherschel, who lead Longfellow Running Club, voiced their sadness in a statement.
“Our Running Club Family has suffered a great loss,” the pair stated. “We have been blessed to have Alex and his family in our Running Club and we will miss him beyond measure. We will remember our friend and teammate for his smile, laughter and his comic relief. Although he is no longer with us, Alex’s spirit will remain in our hearts as we continue to race forward and run in his memory.”
Petermann said Alex Olmsted admitted to her he didn’t love running, but he loved the “Running Club Family.” She said he loved helping others.
She recalled how excited he felt last week when the club received a Green Bay Packers helmet for winning the Spirit Award through the NFL Fuel Up to Play 60 program.
“Alex loved life. We all loved him,” Petermann said.