A two-vehicle crash occurred Friday afternoon, March 29, in the town of Forest in rural Ontario, according to Vernon County Sheriff Roy Torgerson.

Vernon County Sheriff’s Office photo

At about 12:45 p.m., the Sheriff’s Office 911 Dispatch Center was notified of the crash, which occurred on County Highway F, near Harris Road. Lucas Paul Downing, 34, of rural Kendall was operating a 2007 Kia Spectra, traveling east and uphill. Diane Luisa Brewer, 67, of rural Ontario was driving west, and as she crested the hill, she saw that the Downing vehicle had crossed the centerline. Attempting to avoid a head-on collision, Brewer steered right. 

The left, front corner of the Downing vehicle struck and sideswiped the entire left side of the Brewer vehicle. Both frontal airbags in the Downing vehicle deployed, and the side curtain airbag was activated in the Brewer vehicle. 

Both Downing and Brewer were extricated from their vehicles by the Hillsboro Fire Department. Both were transported to Gundersen St. Joseph’s Hospital in Hillsboro by Hillsboro Ambulance. Brewer was treated and released. Downing was later transferred to the University of Wisconsin Hospital in Madison. 

Brewer’s service dog, Jake, did not appear injured and was returned home by a volunteer with Ontario Fire & Rescue, where he will be closely monitored. 

Vernon County Sheriff’s Office photo

Assisting the sheriff’s office at the scene were Hillsboro Fire Department, Hillsboro Area Ambulance, an ambulance from Ontario Fire & Rescue, Ontario Police Department, and the Wisconsin State Patrol. Gundersen Air II also was dispatched but was rerouted and landed at Gundersen St. Joseph’s Hospital. Transfer to Madison was by ground transport. 

All units had left the crash scene by about 3 p.m. 

The investigation continues.