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Automobile Collisions / Workers' Compensation

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Alleged drunk teen saved by deputies hurt in Waukesha crash

The Wisconsin State Patrol is investigating an Interstate 94 crash involving a Waukesha County Sheriff's Department squad car. Two deputies who were hurt in the two-vehicle auto accident managed to rescue a pair of teenagers trapped in the fire-engulfed car that struck the patrol vehicle.

Authorities are uncertain whether a victim's precarious health condition will turn the crash into a fatal car accident.

According to reports, the deputies were on overnight traffic duty in the median along the interstate, observing westbound traffic near Sunny Slope Road while parked in an eastbound direction. An eastbound vehicle, driven by a St. Francis teenager, veered into the median and slammed into the rear of the deputies' vehicle.

Although the deputies sustained facial and back injuries, they rushed to help the two teens inside the blazing vehicle. A 17-year-old West Allis teen, a passenger, was unconscious and airlifted to Froedtert Hospital where his condition was listed as critical.

The deputies and teen driver were also hospitalized. The 18-year-old driver suffered minimal injuries and was charged with drunk driving. The officers were treated and released.

An underage drinker can still qualify as a legal adult, fully capable of being held liable for illegal and negligent behaviors. Economic losses like medical bills may be recovered by victims - including the two, injured deputies - in civil lawsuits, resolved through pre-trial settlements or through jury awards.

The 17-year-old victim of the alleged drunk driving accident could choose to wait until he is an adult to pursue personal injury litigation. The statute of limitations for injured minors to file a negligence suit extends two years beyond an 18th birthday.

The minor passenger's injuries were not detailed in the police report. Should the teen become incapacitated by the injuries he received in the crash or die, the minor's parents also might be able to make a claim against a drunk driver on their child's behalf.

Source: 620wtmj.com, "Injured Waukesha deputies rescued teenagers in fiery freeway crash," Jay Sorgi, Nov. 1, 2012

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