Denise L. Merkel, 54, a Sussex area woman, was killed when she walked across traffic after a vehicle in which she was an occupant broke down on Interstate 43 at 5:31 a.m. Saturday, according to a news release from the Waukesha County Sheriff’s Department.
First aid was given at the scene by law enforcement officers from the Waukesha County Sheriff’s Department and New Berlin Police Department and medical personnel from the New Berlin Fire Department. However, Merkel was pronounced dead at the scene on Interstate 43 about 1.1 miles south of Racine Avenue in New Berlin.
The accident remains under investigation by the Waukesha County Sheriff’s Department.
Her children told Patch's media partners, WISN 12 News, the vehicle ran out of gas on the freeway and Merkel was looking for a mile marker to give directions to a tow truck driver.
"I'd like to you to know that she was a beautiful person inside, and she cared about everyone," her son, Kevin Heintz told WISN 12 News. "And she's going to be missed by everyone, not just us."
WISN 12 News is reporting the family is struggling to pay for funeral expenses. Donations can be made to the Denise L. Merkel Memorial Fund, c/o North Shore Bank, 8706 North Ave., Wauwatosa, WI 53226.