Blizzard tied to 2 deaths; man dies beneath roof collapse, another struck by snowplow
St. Croix County recorded two deaths Saturday tied to heavy snowfall in western Wisconsin. An elderly Woodville man was killed when he was struck by a municipal plow and a rural Hudson man died after the roof of a livestock shelter collapsed, pinning him beneath.
Clifford M. Larson, 79, of Woodville, was blowing snow at the end of his driveway at 2:15 p.m. when he was backed into and struck by a Village of Woodville plow truck, operated by Steven E. Nygaard, 56, of rural Baldwin.
The accident remains under investigation by the St. Croix County Sheriff's Department and the Wisconsin State Patrol.
At 7:26 p.m., Saturday, authorities were alerted to a man trapped by the collapse of a livestock shelter roof, burdened by the day's heavy snowfall.
Kenneth Swanson, 58, owner of Plainview Stables & Outfitters in the town of Troy, was pronounced dead at Hudson Hospital, a short time after firefighters pulled him from the remains of a lean-to on a barn which had collapsed, according to Lieutenant Mike Winberg.
River Falls firefighters and ambulance personnel responded along with several sheriff's deputies and two snowplows.
River Falls fire chief Scott Nelson said he requested help from the city plows, which assisted in clearing the family's driveway so an ambulance could get close to the scene. One plow also led the ambulance up CTH F to Hudson.
Plainview Drive is west of CTH F, about a mile north of CTH MM and about five miles south of Hudson.
Funeral arrangements for Mr. Swanson are pending with the O'Connell Family Funeral Home of Hudson.
Swanson and his wife, Cheryl, operate the stable on 83 acres near the St. Croix River bluff, according to information on a UW-RF Animal & Food Science web page describing area horse boarding facilities.
Stable offerings also include riding instruction, riding trails, heated indoor arena and outdoor arena with pen and heated box stalls.
Firefighters were already out, responding to a possible gas leak when the Plainview Drive call came in so crews were already at the hall, hastening the response by about 10 people, Nelson said.
River Falls firefighters were also called out mid-morning Sunday to help a man get down from a roof, where he was attempting to remove snow. Nelson declined to release the man's name and address.
Winberg said Saturday's heavy snow and high winds made responding to emergency calls a real challenge. His four-wheel drive patrol vehicle got stuck at least three times on county roadways. Winberg said every officer on patrol had to freed by a wrecker at least once.
Mid-afternoon Sunday, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation and State Patrol were reminding motorists that state highways remained in hazardous condition.
While the roads may appear clear in places, they may be covered with ice or ice packs. Also, due to the dropping air and road temperatures the remedies used on the roads may not be as effective in keeping them clear.
Dangerous wind chills, and white-out conditions in open areas, along with the snow and ice covered roads will continue to make driving very difficult.
To check the latest winter road conditions, call 5-1-1 or visit 511.wi.gov.