Semi-driver from Florida arrested after reversing on USH 45, causing crash that killed man from West Bend

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Semi-driver from Florida arrested after reversing on I-45, causing crash that killed man from West Bend

Thony Renelique

JACKSON, Wis. (WFRV) – A Florida man was arrested in Illinois after video surveillance footage reportedly showed him backing up on USH 45 in Wisconsin and causing a crash that killed a man from West Bend.

According to the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, on the morning of Jan. 9, 48-year-old Thony Renelique was arrested in Darien, Illinois. He was arrested in connection to a fatal crash that happened on Jan. 7 around 8 p.m. on USH 45 near STH 60.

Renelique is reportedly charged with homicide by negligent operation of a vehicle. If he is found guilty, he could face up to ten years in prison.

On the night of the accident, Renelique told investigators that he was driving his semi-tractor northbound on USH 45 approaching STH 60. He said that he was slowing down to exit when he was rear-ended by a van.

Authorities said that the evidence at the scene did not match up with Renelique’s story. After looking at surveillance video from a local business, it confirmed what investigators believed.

Renelique missed his exit and came to a complete stop in the lane of traffic. He then reportedly turned his hazard lights on and started a ‘backing maneuver’ on the highway. While he was backing up, the trailer was hit by the other vehicle.

The driver of the other vehicle was a 49-year-old man from West Bend.

On the day after the accident, authorities tried to find Renelique. However, they learned that he had left the area. Renelique was eventually tracked to the Chicago area and investigators were able to find him.

He reportedly confessed to authorities and said he lied because ‘he was in shock’.

Renelique is in custody in Du Page County, Illinois as he awaits his extradition back to Wisconsin.

“These professional partnerships enabled this rapidly evolving investigation to culminate with an arrest being made out of state within 48 hours. This was a tragic incident that impacted many. Our thoughts and prayers go out to all that were tragically affected by this,” said Washington County Sheriff Martin Schulteis.

No additional information was provided, Local 5 will continue to update this story.

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