Two traffic fatalities over the weekend

Eric Banaszak charged in hit and run death

At 3:01 a.m. on Feb. 14, the Waushara County 911 Center received a call of person that was struck by a vehicle on County Road EE, north of Buttercup Drive, Town of Leon. 

The first responding units found James Shafer, 56, rural Redgranite, had been riding a bicycle and it appeared he had been struck by a vehicle. Shafer was pronounced dead at the scene by the Waushara County Coroner’s Office.    There were no other people or vehicles around at the time the units arrived. 

Shafer was riding a bicycle and was wearing reflective clothes and had lights on his bicycle. 

Eric E. Banaszak, 42, Redgranite, came to the Waushara County Sheriff’s Office later on Feb. 14 and admitted he was the driver that hit Shafer. Detectives talked to him and found a vehicle that was used. 

Banaszak has been formally charged with Hit and Run-Resulting in Death and is currently in the Waushara County Jail. Banaszak’s bond has been set at $7,500 and an initial appearance is scheduled for Feb. 24.

The vehicle has been impounded and the investigation is continuing. 

The Waushara County Sheriff’s Office is handling the investigation with assistance from the Wisconsin State Patrol. The Redgranite Fire Department and Waushara County EMS also responded. 

The second fatal crash reported by the sheriff’s department occurred on Feb. 15. 

At about 8:33 p.m. the Waushara County 911 Call Center received a report of a two-vehicle crash on State Road 21 and County Road Z, Town of Marion. The involved vehicles were a passenger van and car.

The passenger from the van, Joshua Kaye, 28, Des Plaines, IL, was ejected from the vehicle and was transported to Theda Clark Hospital by helicopter where he passed away shortly after his arrival. 

Joshua Kaye was the passenger of the van driven by Joseph Kaye, Des Plaines, IL. The driver of the other car was Hannah Loging, Redgranite. 

The crash is still under investigation by the Sheriff’s Office and the Wisconsin State Patrol. 

The Wisconsin State Patrol, Redgranite Police Department, Waushara County Emergency Services, Redgranite Fire and Rescue, Theda Star Air Medical, and Flight for Life Fond Du Lac assisted with the crash. 

  To view more, please log in or subscribe to the digital edition.