Student Talks About Crash That Killed His Friends

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A second UW-Eau Claire student dies after a car crash in Georgia.

The UW campus News Bureau Director tells us 23-year-old Jason Schluter of Lyndon Station, just south of Mauston, died yesterday from head injuries.

Schluter was driving a van with five friends to Florida when a semi-truck tire smashed through van's windshield.

21-year-old Jason Buchmeier from Mauston died Friday afternoon at the scene.
The four other passengers flew home to Wisconsin Monday night.

Tuesday, we talked to Patrick Senzig, another student who was in the van.

He says the whole thing still doesn't seem real, but he has the scars on his face to remind him what happened.

When Patrick got into a van headed to Florida, he didn't expect to fly home.

"We should be on the beach right now," he says.

And he didn't expect to head back to a half-empty home in Eau Claire.

"Going back to school and having two empty bedrooms in the house. It's going to be weird."

Patrick says he's tight with all the guys in the van: Four of them lived together and five of them went to high school together. He says Jason Buchmeier was one of his closest friends.

“This summer he and I went on a hunting trip to Canada together and we both shot bears.”

Jason Schluter was like a big brother.

"We pretty much grew up together," he says. "We've been best buddies as long as I can remember. We always had a plan to go to college together. He went to community college for two years and when I graduated we went to Eau Claire."

Now, Patrick's recovering from a broken nose at home in Lyndon Station. As he looks back at pictures, he knows he'll have some tough days ahead.

"It's extremely difficult, just the fact that they're never going to be here again. The loss of these two great gentlemen is, I don't even know, it's tragic.”

A tragedy he says he says no one else should ever have to go through:

“This accident happens to maybe one in a million. It's that rare. That two semi tires spin off and jump over the median in the road and hit us. Had we been on second faster, one second slower, we could've avoided all this, but I guess the timing was just wrong for us on that day."

Jason Buchmeier's wake is Wednesday from 3:00 to 9:00 and his funeral is scheduled for 10:30 Thursday morning at the Mauston United Methodist Church. He’ll be buried at the Evergreen Cemetery.

Services for Jason Schluter will begin at 11 a.m. Saturday, March 24, at St. Patrick's Catholic Church in Mauston. Friends may call from 4-8 p.m. Friday, March 23, at the Picha Funeral Home in Lyndon Station, or from 9:30 a.m. until the time of service on Saturday, March 24, at the church.