MILWAUKEE — A daddy-daughter date took a tragic turn after the Dua Lipa concert at Fiserv Forum last week.
Mike Nicola decided to treat his two daughters, Alexa, 11, and Emersyn, 8, to the Dua Lipa show at Fiserv Forum on Feb. 23.
"No matter how busy he still always prioritized his wife and kids," said Craig Hick, Mike's best friend.
Hicks spent a great deal of time with Mike performing together in their band, What Shadows Hide. Mike's kids loved watching them play.
Music is what bonded the two families, so when his wife got a phone call last week, his world stopped.
"She said Mike was in an accident, Emersyn's dead. I was like what? What? They were just on their way back from their concert down in Milwaukee," said Hicks.
The family had driven over 100 miles from their home in Suring, Wisconsin to Fiserv Forum.
As a truck driver, Mike spent hours on the road that day. According to police, during the 2.5 hour ride home from the concert, Mike had shut his eyes for a second after driving out of McDonald's in Abrams for a quick bite.
"They said that the truck went up the off-ramp and went over the overpass and then down 40 feet into the ditch on the other side," said Hicks.
Mike was pinned in the truck while Alexa was able to kick through the glass to escape.
"Apparently, the truck rolled a couple of times. I think they found one of the mud tires in the parking lot at the McDonald's."
Alexa attempted to call 9-1-1 but she was unsure where they were. Police eventually found the family using an app.
"Thankfully, Mike and Dana had a Life360 app on their phone that apparently automatically contacted emergency services."
Mike broke his hip, shoulder, and back. Alexa suffered minor injuries. Little Emersyn was killed.
"We'll hopefully go from a point of being hurtful, thinking of all of those memories, to a point of honoring her."
Mike is recovering at the Bellin Rehab facilities after several surgeries.
Hicks believes Emersyn is now an angel looking down on the family. Saturday they will honor her life in a unicorn-themed funeral.
"No wearing black, just colorful and bright."
A temporary cross with flowers remains at the scene of the crash as the family is working with the city to install a permanent one.
The family has created a GoFundMe page to help cover medical costs and is urging anyone to help in donating.