Two rescued from river
Man hit by rolling truck
By Scott Bellile
Two men were rescued from the Wolf River after a truck rolled into the water at a boat launch last week.
The incident occurred after 4 p.m. Thursday, April 12, at Riverside Park along County Trunk X.
Gary Bonikowske, 76, Manwa, suffered a serious injury and was airlifted to ThedaCare Regional Medical Center in Neenah.
His brother, Dennis Bonikowske, 66, Manawa, was not injured but was treated at ThedaCare Medical Center-New London.
According to the police report, police were dispatched at 4:07 p.m. The truck was completely submerged when New London officers responded to the scene. Four men were in the water dragging another man to shore.
Police stated the brothers had finished fishing and were backing the trailer into the river to load the boat. Dennis Bonikowske was driving the vehicle while Gary Bonikowske was assisting with the boat outside.
Dennis Bonikowske told police he believed the brakes failed because he could not stop after he reversed the vehicle. The vehicle and trailer presumably struck Gary Bonikowske and continued to roll into the river, the police report states.
The vehicle became submerged and witnesses told police they pulled Dennis Bonikowske out the window. The witnesses said Gary Bonikowske was face-down in the water when they dragged him out.
The incident happened quickly and the truck appeared to be submerged within seconds, the witnesses told police. The truck had to be towed from the river.
New London Police Chief Jeff Schlueter noted to the New London Police and Fire Commission Monday, April 16, the incident was the second pedestrian-related accident in town in a week.
One week earlier, April 5, a pedestrian was struck on High Street after a motorist had what appeared to be a medical emergency and went into a ditch.