Porterfield official killed in storm


Staff Writer

TOWN OF PORTERFIELD, Wis. – The Porterfield Town Chairman is dead following a vehicle crash that struck two people during the early morning hours on Wednesday.

Marinette County Sheriff Jerry Sauve reports that at 1:42 a.m. Wednesday, Marinette County Dispatch received a 911 call of a traffic crash on Bagley Road in which a vehicle had struck two people.

Sheriff deputies and other emergency responders were dispatched to the scene.

Investigation revealed that a tree had fallen across Bagley Road during the thunderstorm. Porterfield Town Chairman Eugene LaCombe, 67, and Keith Franks, 23, were cutting up the tree to remove it from the roadway.

LaCombe’s vehicle was parked in the northbound lane with its headlights and flashers on.

They were working in the southbound lane when they were both struck by a southbound vehicle, driven by Brandon J. Kopf, 19, also of the town of Porterfield.

LaCombe later died at Bay Area Medical Center from injuries sustained in the crash.

Franks sustained injuries but is expected to recover.

Heavy rain and wind at the time of the crash and the glare of the headlights from the LaCombe vehicle are contributing factors to Kopf not seeing the men working in the roadway.

Alcohol is not believed to be a factor in this incident.

This matter remains under investigation by the sheriff’s office and the Marinette County Coroner George Smith.

This is Marinette County’s fifth traffic fatality of 2013.

Lisa M. Reed’s e-mail address is lreed@ironmountaindailynews.com.