Warming Centers Opened After Weekend Power Failure

MONROE COUNTY, WI (Ben Caxton) — A Saturday morning accident started a cascade of events that led to power outages in four townships and warming centers opening in the area to help residents struggling to stay warm without electricity. The reports of power outages started coming into the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office around 2:00 AM Saturday morning from the Norwalk, Wilton, Ridgeville, and Kendall areas. By 2:20 AM the source of the outages had been traced back to a truck that had crashed into a power pole near Wilton. Witnesses told authorities they saw the male driver of the truck, later identified as William Rieck flee the scene. But the driver’s girlfriend Melissa S. Bakke from Glendale called police to say that she had been behind the wheel at the time of the accident. Rieck eventually confessed that he fell asleep at the wheel. Deputies cited him for reckless driving, operating a vehicle left of center, and failure to notify the police of a crash. His girlfriend was cited for obstructing an officer. Power was eventually restored to all customers around 4:30 PM Saturday afternoon, with work slowed by an unrelated fire at a nearby power substation.

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