Accident Victims Now in Satisfactory Condition at Froedtert
The O'Briens appear to be out of danger. Meanwhile, details of their accident and another very like it have been released by the police, indicating both were the result of medical events occurring to the drivers.
Two serious traffic accidents in the past few days were likely the result of neuromedical events in which the drivers lost their faculties.
In an accident reported Thursday and updated Friday, a Tosa husband and wife were both seriously injured when the husband, who was driving, slumped over at the wheel and their car left the road and struck a house and a tree.
In another accident Saturday, a woman who had suffered a seizure two years also lost control of her car on busy Mayfair Road, hit a tree and had to be pulled from her burning car by passersby.
According to police, fire and hospital reports:
Corrine O'Brien, 69, and her husband James O'Brien, 76, are now both in satisfactory condition at Froedtert Hospital after their accident Thursday morning.
A witness told police that he was stopped at a red light behind another car on West Wisconsin Avenue at North 76th Street, facing west, and that when the light changed, the car in front of him started forward, then stopped abruptly.
He saw a car coming northbound on N. 76th St. that didn’t appear to be slowing for the light. It ran the red light, and as it did so, the witness saw that the driver, James O'Brien, was slumped over the wheel and not in control.
The car went over the curb on the northwest corner and passed between two closely spaced traffic signal poles. It continued across the lawn, hit the house, careened off it and smashed into a large pine tree. The witness estimated the O'Briens were going 30 to 35 miles per hour.
James O’Brien was responsive at the hospital but said he did not remember the crash or anything since leaving CVS Pharmacy at North 76th and Blue Mound Road. He told officers at first that he had no previous medical conditions, but on Friday he recalled that he had fainted about five years earlier and was told he had had a transient ischemic attack, or a small stroke.
He said he had also had a few episodes since when his eyes went out of focus, and that he had been “feeling funny” just before leaving CVS.
He suffered a severe injury to his nose, and bruising to his chest and left knee. The steering wheel of his 1998 Buick LeSabre was bent from the impact.
It appeared that he had been wearing a seat belt. The report did not say whether any air bags deployed
Corrine O’Brien was also awake and responsive after the accident but badly injured with a fractured jaw and a severe facial laceration. She also remembered nothing of the crash at the time.
She had definitely been wearing a seat belt; Fire Department paramedics had to cut her out of it.
Citizens step in to help victim of crash, fire
At 2:36 p.m. Saturday, a driver going north in the 900 block of North Mayfair Road witnessed a similar accident and stopped to render aid to the victim, a 73-year-old Milwaukee woman.
He told police he saw the car in front of him suddenly veer into the left lane, go over the curb and hit a tree. He said he immediately thought there must have been a medical issue because there was no other apparent reason for the driver to lose all control of her car.
He stopped to help and found the driver was not wearing a seat belt and was disoriented and incoherent. Meanwhile, her car began to burn, with flame and smoke coming from the damaged engine comparment.
He and others, including an off-duty Kenosha police officer, helped the woman out of and away from the car as the fire grew.
Fire Department medical units arrived to care for the woman while a fire unit attended to putting out the car fire. The woman was not seriously injured but was taken to Froedtert for observation.
She was responsive when police interviewed her at the hospital. She said that she had a seizure in 2010 but had been taken off medication in February. She didn’t remember the crash or events leading up to it since she had left Brookfield Mall earlier.