Wisc. deputy succumbs to injuries after being struck by car


Officer Down: Deputy Jason Zunker

The Associated Press

BLOOMER, WIS. - A deputy from Wisconsin's Chippewa County died Saturday of injuries he suffered when he was hit by a car at the scene of a semitrailer truck fire on Friday night.

Jason Zunker, 31, died of head trauma at Luther Hospital in Eau Claire, Wis., Sheriff James Kowalcyzk confirmed at a news conference Saturday.

"We're devastated," the sheriff said. "There's not enough words I can say to the Zunker family and the deputies that worked hand-in-hand, side-by-side with him. It's a loss that can never be replaced."

Zunker had been directing traffic for about six minutes about 9:44 p.m. Friday when he was hit by a car at the scene of the truck fire on Hwy. 53. The crash happened just south of Bloomer, in western Wisconsin, about 100 miles east of Minneapolis.

He was first taken to a hospital in Bloomer and then airlifted to the hospital in Eau Claire.

The Wisconsin State Patrol said that a Chippewa Falls woman was the driver of the car that hit Zunker and that she has been cooperating. They are investigating the crash, which happened in the town of Woodmohr.

Authorities shut down southbound Hwy. 53 for about 90 minutes Friday night while they dealt with the burning truck. It belonged to Wal-Mart.

Zunker started as a reserve officer in July 2003 and became a deputy sheriff in March 2004. He lived in rural Augusta, Wis., with his wife.

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