Shortly after four A.M. Tuesday, 59-year-old James Walleser of Lansing was driving east on Highway 82, headed from Lansing, Iowa to DeSoto, Wisconsin. After crossing the bridge in Lansing, the road disintegrated, creating an 8-foot deep chasm, that swallowed Walleser’s SUV.
A motorist following, witnessed the vehicle plunge into the river, and called authorities. Walleser’s Jeep was recovered from the river about four hours later; he was pronounced dead at the scene. An autopsy has been scheduled. The washout was caused by the rising Mississippi River, undercutting and eroding the land beneath the road.
The damaged highway, which lies in Crawford County, Wisconsin, is being repaired, and may be open as early as this weekend. Meanwhile, motorists who need to cross the river from Northeast Iowa into Southwest Wisconsin, will need to use the bridge a half hour south at Marquette/Prairie du Chien, or a half hour north at LaCrosse.
(Reporting by Roger King, KOEL Oelwein)