LYNDON, Wis. – A 77-year-old Wisconsin man killed in a crash involving a police car was on his way to a memorial for his granddaughter, who died by suicide over the weekend, loved ones told WITI.
A preliminary investigation into the crash, which happened shortly after 3 p.m. on Monday, found that the man, Dennis Teetzen, was driving south on WIS 57 and turned east on County Road North in front of the Plymouth squad car.
Deenice and Chris Warner, Teetzen's daughter and son-in-law, said Teetzen was on his way to a vigil for Nichole Warner, the couple's daughter and Teetzen's granddaughter.
"I'm going to try to find peace with both losing my father and my daughter at the same time," said Deenice Warner.
"Nichole was his world, and maybe when he went there, he was so upset, he didn't even see the car coming," said Chris Warner. "I don't know."
They opted to speak out Tuesday with hope their message would prevent a similar outcome for someone else.
"We feel it would just be a way to honor both of them, for the life that we were able to share with them," said Deenice Warner. "If you have a child that is sick and not feeling well, do everything in your power to get them help, because the end result, they can never change their mind from that."
Deenice Warner said her daughter had been receiving treatment for depression for years, but the mental illness ultimately took over, forever changing many lives.
"If our story could save one child, it would be amazing," said Deenice Warner.
Plymouth Police Officer Lindsay Baumhardt, 35, was on duty and was in the squad car involved in the crash with Teetzen. Officials said Baumhardt was not driving in emergency mode and not responding to a call. Baumhardt suffered non-life-threatening injuries. Officials said Baumhardt is the school liaison officer for the department.
Officials said Teetzen failed to yield or stop for a stop sign on WIS 57. His vehicle crossed into the path of the Plymouth squad, resulting in the collision.