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Wisconsin legislator is involved in crash that killed a woman and a 5-year-old girl

State Sen. Janet Bewley, 70, who represents the 25th District of Wisconsin, was not seriously injured in Friday's three-vehicle accident in Ashland. No charges have been filed.
Image: Janet Bewley
State Sen. Janet Bewley speaks at a hearing on Covid-19 by the Committee on Senate Organization at the Capitol in Madison, Wis., on Jan. 11, 2021.Mark Hoffman / Journal Sentinel via Imagn

A Wisconsin state senator was involved in a three-vehicle crash that left a woman and her 5-year-old daughter dead, officials said.

The wreck happened Friday when Janet Bewley, 70, the Senate Democratic leader, pulled out from the entrance of Maslowski Beach at Lake Superior to turn east onto U.S. Highway 2, Ashland police said.

She hit another vehicle traveling westbound on the highway, driven by Pennsylvania woman Alyssa Ortman, 27, police said in a news release.

Ortman’s vehicle “spun across the highway” and was hit by an eastbound vehicle driven by Jodi Munson, 45, of Mason, Wisconsin, police said.

Ortman’s daughter died at the scene. Ortman was taken to Memorial Medical Center, where she died later. They were the only people in the vehicle.

Bewley and Munson, who were checked out by emergency responders, were not injured, Police Chief Bill Hagstrom told NBC News.

He said that alcohol is not suspected and that voluntary tests are taken as a routine measure in serious crashes.

No charges have been filed.

"The investigation is still active and pending the results from the Wisconsin State Patrol, who does the measurements and scene mapping," Hagstrom said. "Once the initial investigation is complete with those results, it’ll be forwarded to the Ashland County District Attorney for their review of charges."

Bewley represents the 25th District in the northwest part of Wisconsin. She was elected to the Senate in 2014. 

In a statement, Bewley’s office said: “Tragically, two people lost their lives. This is a heartbreaking event for the community. Our thoughts and prayers are focused on the individuals involved, their families and their loved ones.

“Senator Bewley, who was not seriously injured in the accident, wants to thank all the dedicated law enforcement and emergency medical personnel who helped in the aftermath of the accident," the statement said.

"A police investigation is ongoing. Out of respect for that investigation and the privacy of all the families involved, our office will be withholding further comment at this time," it continued.