Clark County (WQOW) - A Thorp native was on her way to visit her parents the other night when the unthinkable happened. The road she was on collapsed.
Mary Malinowski was one of three people who died when two vehicles crashed on County Rd M in Clark County. Heavy rains caused a washout, and left a 50-foot gap in the road, 12 to 15 feet deep.
A couple from Milwaukee was in a pickup truck that crashed first. They died, and then Mary's SUV crashed, ending up on top of the truck. Mary was on 24.
"Very adventurous, brave, laughing, funny, always a smile" These are just few of the words Agnus Buttke shared about her sister, Mary Malinowski.
"She would give her heart and soul in anything she did." Says Buttke.
Wednesday night, after work, Mary started her drive from Mauston to visit her family in Thorp. She knew the storms were bad but assured her mother she would be fine.
Kathleen Malinowski, Mary's mother, says, "If I leave I should be there around 3, 3:30am, she said, keep the doors open, and keep your phone close to you. She says, if I make it through Black River Falls, I'll be ok."
She was only twenty miles from thorp when her SUV plummeted into a washout along County Rd M.
"They could tell us that she didn't suffer, but still, I lost my girl" says Kathleen Malinowski.
Mary wasn't traveling alone that night, her dog Dukie was riding in the passenger seat, and survived.
Dr. Diana Kara, with Grassland Veterinary Service, says, "When I arrived on Thursday morning, Duke was thirsty, and in shock. He had been trapped in the vehicle for a number of hours before they managed to get him out."
The dog will need to have his leg amputated because of the crash. After the surgery, Dukie will live with Mary's sister Agnes.
"Dukie is all I have left of my sister, he's all my family has left," says Buttke.
The family says it's struggling financially to handle the cost of the vet bills. If you would like to help you can make mail your donations to the following address:
PO Box 129
Granton, WI 54436
Checks can be made payable to "Dukie's Care".
Clark County says it will take two to four weeks to repair and reopen County Rd. M. The county says that culverts don't have an inspection cycle so it looks for any cracking or unevenness in the asphalt that would indicate the culvert is fatigued. The county says there were no signs of fatigue in this case.
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