FOND DU LAC - Fond du Lac County authorities continue to investigate a deadly crash involving 12 motorcycles and a car.
Capt. Dean Will of the Fond du Lac County Sheriff's Office says Daniel Lee Winsemius, 59, of Twin Lake, Mich., was killed in the crash Thursday afternoon. Nine other people were hurt.
Investigators say they plan to recommend charges of homicide by negligent operation of a motor vehicle against the 25-year-old Hilbert man they say crossed the center line with his car, hitting the group of motorcyclists.
The riders are members of a group calling itself the Muskegon Motorcycle Gang. They are from Michigan and were traveling home from Milwaukee.
Authorities say the crash happened around 3 p.m. on Highway 151. It was in the town of Taycheedah, near Welling Beach Rd. and Gladstone Beach Rd.
Officials say the survivors told them it all happened so fast there was no time to react.
"They were in the group formation. Two side by side, traveling, and in a split second the vehicle crossed over the center line and struck them," said Will.
Investigators still aren't sure how the crash happened. The driver, whose name hasn't been released, was at Theda Clark in fair condition Friday.
Authorities are not sure if he had been drinking. A blood sample has been sent to the State Crime Lab. Officials say speed was not a factor.
"We will be interviewing him, and we also will be inspecting the vehicle. We do not believe that there was any mechanical failure of that vehicle that would have caused him to travel over the center line," said Will.
Sheriff's officials say the scene after the crash was overwhelming with so many victims to tend to.
"There was people screaming for help and there was the survivors that were obviously upset with it, and you had to control them and try to determine, assess the injuries to see exactly what was required," said Will.
Will says the field of debris was spread out over a large area. Some of that debris could still be seen on the side of the highway and in ditches the day after the crash.
"There was a total of 10 bikes that were struck. The farthest one that finally came to rest was I believe 600 feet, so it was quite a spread out scene," said Will.
Five of the motorcyclists remain hospitalized. Eric Vandam, 52, of Muskegon, Mich.; Douglas Williams, 58, of Muskegon; and Douglas Yonkers, 43, of Muskegon are at Theda Clark Medical Center in Neenah, listed in critical condition.
Will said the three motorcyclists in critical condition are "not out of the woods yet," having suffered "great bodily harm."
Marvin Vanderkolk, 63, of Fruitport, Mich.; Garry Ferris, 52, of Muskegon; and Leland Johnson, 59, of Muskegon are at St. Agnes Hospital in Fond du Lac. Lawrence Monroe, 59, of Muskegon, and Paul Czekus, 57, of Ravenna, Mich., were treated and released from St. Agnes. William Groom, 57, of Muskegon, was also involved in the crash, but was not hurt. Two other motorcyclists riding in the group were not involved.
Sheriff's officials say all the motorcyclists were wearing helmets and eyewear. Survivors told officials they were riding in a "group formation - two side by side." They said the vehicle struck in a "split second" and there was "no time to react."
A fellow motorcyclist took in the aftermath Friday, visiting the crash site to pay his respects to the dead and the injured.
"It's kind of a sobering effect to come out here and see what can happen to you when you're riding," said Tom Pickart of Fond du Lac. "I was stunned. When you hear about it - that was a lot of, that was a lot of bikes to go down."
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