News: Neillsville - Tragic Death Leaves Confusion (1988)

Contact: Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon
Surnames: Mohr, Butterfield, Mayer, Lulloff, Selves, Seliskar, Lindgren

----Source: Leader-Telegram (Eau Claire, WI) 4/12/1988

Tragic Deaths Leave Community Confused (8 April 1988)

Albert Mohr of Route 2 Neillsville was one of many people Monday who examined a traffic accident scene at the intersection of Opelt and River Roads (in the Town of Levis) in Clark County. Three women died Friday night when their car failed to turn onto the bridge, hit the guard rail in front of Mohr and landed about 50 feet into the Black River. Staff Photo by Chuck Rupnow

By Chuck Rupnow of Leader-Telegram Staff

Neillsville – Albert Mohr walked up to a damaged guard rail, then peered into the Black River. He noticed the marks leading out of the cold rushing water.

He stared at the water and shook his head.

“A person just never understands these types of things,” he said. “There’s just no reason three young people needed to die like that. You just wonder why.”

Mohr lives about 2-1/2 miles from the intersection of Opelt and River roads southwest of Neillsville. He has visited the site three times since three Neillsville women drowned Friday night when their car crashed through the guard rail and into the river.

Results of the accident have shocked the Clark County community. It took its greatest toll on Richard H. Butterfield, a 22-year-old rural Granton man who was scheduled to marry Gina M. Mayer, one of the crash victims. Less than a day after her death, Butterfield shot himself in the chest, four miles from the scene of the accident.

“The grief is pretty widespread,” County Coroner and Neillsville Mayor Robert Lulloff said. “It was a tragic accident, but maybe it will have some affect on other people to prevent any more of their senseless dying.”

Funeral services were Monday for Kim. D. Selves, 19, and are scheduled for today for Mayer, 20, who was scheduled to marry Butterfield Sept. 10. Services for Rochelle M. Seliskar, 23, are set for Wednesday.

Butterfield left a “typical suicide note in his apartment, Lulloff said. “It made reference to his love for Gina.”

Lulloff notified Mayer’s parents early Saturday morning, because of his positions as Coroner and mayor. LaVerne Mayer is the city’s fifth ward alderman.

“How do you tell a friend that his daughter has been killed in a car accident?” Lulloff said. “It’s never easy, but it’s worse when you know the people so well.”

Lulloff went back the next day “to talk with Vern as a friend.”

Seliskar and Selves both worked at Hardee’s Restaurant at Neillsville since it opened last fall, according to Manager Nancy Lindgren.

“They often worked the morning shift together,” she said. “It’s hard right now. Everybody feels it.”

Seliskar and her husband Randy, were separated. They have two children, Dan, 3, and Christopher 1.

“I told Dan, but he doesn’t understand dying, and why and how,” Seliskar said today. “It’s too technical for him right now. I told him I’d explain it more when he gets older. I’m not sure he understands his mother won’t be coming back.

“There has been a little break since the shock of the accident, but the funeral is tomorrow and that will be bad,” he said. “I hope the kids who watched the car being dragged out of the river realize what’s happened. I hope it knocks some sense into their heads.”

The three women and a 17-year-old boy were riding in a 1978 Chevette owned by Selves when it failed to make a right turn onto an old, one-lane iron bridge. Mrs. Seliskar was driving the vehicle, according to the Clark County Sheriff’s Department.

(Balance of article was cut off. Sorry. DMK)



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