Man dies in two-vehicle crash on Milwaukee's south side

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Man dies in two-vehicle crash on Milwaukee's south side

By Jay Sorgi. CREATED May 30, 2012 - UPDATED: May 30, 2012

MILWAUKEE - A 43-year-old man has died after a multi-vehicle crash on Milwaukee's south side.

The medical examiner's officer identified the victim as Michael J. Gawlik, a part-time Journal Sentinel employee since 1988.

The crash happened at about 6:20 a.m. near the corner of South 27th Street and West Grange Avenue.  It involved a van and a delivery truck.

"There was a white service van going at a high rate of speed northbound on 27th Street," said witness David Laures.  "It just missed careening into a black pickup truck, veered into the far right lane and ran straight into a Penske yellow rental truck."

He also said the impact pushed the truck about a half block before it stopped.

"At the point of impact, the back of the Penske truck blew open with boxes of leaflets of Justin Bieber, some kind of advertisements about his (fragrances).  They blew all over the place...the van got smaller and smaller as it (collided) into the truck....the gentleman was wedged totally into the truck."

According to what he told Newsradio 620 WTMJ's Michelle Richards, another witness said the van driver may have had some sort of medical issue before the crash.

"There was one of the witnesses that was next to me (who) said that this person was driving about 10 blocks at a high rate of speed.  They thought he might have had some kind of medical (condition) because his head was down."

Milwaukee Police and Fire officials did not initially confirm those details, as the investigation is ongoing.

"When you look at the impact, they were moving.  What the speed was, we don't know" explained Battalion Chief Sean Slowey.

Laures explained he and other witnesses attempted to assist the victim.

"We were just there to comfort the person.  We don't know if (he could hear us).  There was a nurse that was with me.  He was doing a pulse and eye check.  Neither one of us could find a pulse after two minutes."

Laures also told TODAY'S TMJ4's Melissa McCrady that the other driver was injured as well.

"I talked to the Penske driver, too.  He hit his head really bad.  He was dizzy, might have had a concussion," he said.

Police say traffic was blocked off in all directions on both 27th Street and Grange Avenue.