Bearded Beast of Duloc
Doctor describes 'miraculous save' in Highway 151 crash involving 10 motorcycles
One of three motorcyclists critically injured Thursday in Fond du Lac County was a “miraculous save” after he went into cardiac arrest inside a helicopter, a doctor said Friday.
Dr. Ray Georgen, director of trauma at Theda Clark Medical Center in Neenah, said the crash involved 12 motorcyclists who get together annually for a ride. Motorcyclists from Michigan took a ferry across Lake Michigan to Milwaukee.
The motorcyclists were driving north on Highway 151 to the Upper Peninsula to go around Lake Michigan when they were hit head-on by a southbound car.
One of the victims went into cardiac arrest on the helicopter pad and needed multiple shocks to restart his heart. Georgen described it as “a miraculous save.”
“He underwent CPR on the helicopter,” he said. “He was shocked on the way from the helicopter to the trauma room. He was shocked in the hallway. He was shocked in the room. Things were not looking good, but he pulled it out.”
The three motorcyclists at Theda Clark were identified as Eric C. Vandam, 52; Douglas W. Williams, 58; and Douglas A. Yonkers, 43. The Fond du Lac County Sheriff’s Office reports all of the motorcyclists are from Michigan.
Georgen said the motorcyclists were seasoned riders who were fully equipped with helmets and protective gear.
“There is no doubt in my mind that there would have been more fatalities associated with this if people did not have helmets on,” he said.
Amy Puls, a registered nurse with Flight for Life, said the crash scene looked like “a bowling alley with a bunch of bowling pins that were actually motorcycles.”
“Putting that aside and just focusing on your patient is difficult,” she said, “but you have to do it. You have to step up. That’s your job.”
Puls made two flights to transport patients to Theda Clark.
Georgen praised the efforts of passers-by, paramedics, police officers, firefighters, flight personnel and the trauma team to deal with the magnitude of the crash and injuries.
“I’m told there were passers-by who were stabilizing necks and putting blankets on people who were involved in the crash,” he said.
The families of the motorcyclists have set up a fund at PNC Bank in Grand Rapids, Mich., under the name MMG Motorcycle Tragedy. Donors can contribute at any PNC Bank.
“There’s a groundswell of ‘How can we help the families and individuals involved in this crash,’” Georgen said.
Georgen said the motorcycle victims would be in the intensive-care unit “for extended periods of time.”
A 25-year-old Hilbert man will face a homicide charge for allegedly driving his car into 10 motorcycles Thursday afternoon in Fond du Lac County.
The suspect is in fair condition at Theda Clark Medical Center in Neenah, Fond du Lac County Sheriff’s Office Capt. Dean Will said Friday morning.
One cyclist is dead and nine people were injured in the multi-vehicle crash on Highway 151 north of Fond du Lac. The Sheriff’s Office said the driver’s car crossed the centerline into the path of 12 motorcycles around 3 p.m. between Gladstone Beach Road and Welling Beach Road in the Town of Taycheedah. Two of the cycles were not hit.
The motorcyclists, all males, are from Michigan. They were all wearing helmets and eyewear.
The motorcyclists are:
• Daniel Lee Winsemius, 59, of Twin Lake, Mich., was pronounced deceased at the scene.
• Eric Charles Vandam, 52, of Muskegon, Mich., is in critical condition at Theda Clark Medical Center.
• Douglas Wayne Williams, 58, of Muskegon, Mich., is in critical condition at Theda Clark Medical Center.
• Douglas Allan Yonkers, 43, of Muskegon, Mich., is in critical condition at Theda Clark Medical Center.
• Marvin John Vanderkolk, 63, of Fruitport, Mich., was treated and released from St. Agnes Hospital.
• William Brad Groom, 57, of Muskegon, Mich., was not injured.
• Garry Lee Ferris, 52, of Muskegon, Mich., is at St. Agnes Hospital. His family is not releasing a condition update, said a hospital spokesperson.
• Leland Roe Johnson, 58, of Muskegon, Mich., is at St. Agnes Hospital. His family has opted to not release any information, said a spokesperson.
• Lawrence Charles Monroe, 59, of Muskegon, Mich., was treated and released from St. Agnes Hospital.
• Paul Czekus, 57, of Ravenna, Mich., was treated and released from St. Agnes Hospital.
• Guy Vernon Weersing, 58, and Mark Steven Messany, 51, both of Muskegon, Mich., were traveling with the group and were not involved in the crash.
The car was traveling south near N8941 Highway 151 when it struck the motorcyclists, Will said.
Will described the scene as “horrific” and overwhelming.”
Debris was scattered between 500 and 600 feet, he said.
Charges of felony bail jumping and homicide by negligent use of a motor vehicle will be referred to the Fond du Lac County Sheriff’s Office, Will said. The 25-year-old will be taken into custody once he is released from the hospital.
A sample of the 25-year-old’s blood will been sent to the Wisconsin State Crime Lab, Will said.
“It’s customary to send in the blood. But we have belief that there may be other conditions that may have contributed to the crash,” Will said.
The man has two pending criminal cases in Calumet County that involve felony bail jumping, possession of THC, possession of narcotic drugs, possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of a controlled substance, according to online court records.
A signature bond was ordered in both cases, meaning the man did not have to spend time in jail while the cases are pending.
He has criminal convictions on drug-related offenses and a burglary. He also has more than four operating with a suspended license traffic offenses, according to online court records.
The man was driving his mother’s car at the time of the collisions, said Will.
Highway 151 was shut down for several hours. The Fond du Lac County Highway Department set up detours for traffic.
The accident resulted in Fond du Lac County's eighth traffic fatality of 2012.
Destroy That Which Destroys You
"Let bravery be thy choice, but not bravado."