A two-car crash at about 4:20 p.m. Sunday in the town of Fountain Prairie killed the driver of one of the vehicles.

Jerome M. Renz, 36, of Rio, died, the Columbia County Sheriff's Office reported. 

Renz was a lieutenant for the Wyocena Bureau of Fire.

A posting on the Bureau of Fire Facebook page Monday said, in part: "Jerome was one of the nicest, most genuine human beings you could ever have hoped to know. He had a great personality, and a great sense of humor. Not to mention he was one of THE best firefighters I have ever had the experience of working with. He was knowledgeable, experienced, and a great leader. He was so very calm, cool, and collected under pressure. Whether it was on the nozzle at a structure fire, or running the pump; he was always calm and carried himself with confidence on the fire ground. It is a detrimental loss to his family, friends, and The Wyocena Bureau of Fire." 

The Columbia County Sheriff’s Office responded to numerous 911 calls advising of a motor vehicle accident involving two vehicles. The accident occurred on Highway 16 near Seier Road.

Witnesses said that a westbound car and an eastbound van had collided nearly head-on, causing the car to roll over, landing on its roof in the north ditch of Highway 16. The male driver of that car was pronounced dead at the scene. There was another adult passenger along with a juvenile in that car, and both were transported via medical helicopter to UW Hospital in Madison.

There were three occupants in the van, and all were transported via ground ambulance to Columbus Community Hospital.

Speed and alcohol do not appear to be factors; however, the accident remains under investigation.

Medical conditions of those injured were not available late Sunday. Other names were withheld.

The Columbia County Sheriff’s Office was assisted on scene by Fall River Police, Fall River Fire, Columbus Police, Lifestar EMS, Rio EMS, UW Medflight, Blystone’s Towing and the Columbia County Medical Examiner’s Office.

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