WAUBEKA -- An Ozaukee County community is in shock after one of their top firefighters is killed in a tragic accident. Assistant Fire Chief Bruce Koehler of the Waubeka Fire Department died Friday night after his motorcycle collided into a deer.
Outside of the Waubeka fire station, flags are flown at half-staff for one of their own.
"It's been bothering me all day," said Sandy Lederer.
Lederer knew Koehler for decades, but what's bothering her most is she saw him Friday night at dinner.
"We talked to him and a couple minutes later he was gone," Lederer recalled.
Lederer saw Koehler take off on his motorcycle. She knew something was wrong just a few minutes later.
"We saw lights at the fire department," she said. "The fellas were all running out."
Koehler was traveling on County Highway H in Washington County when his motorcycle struck a deer. Authorities said he wasn't wearing a helmet at the time. The Washington County Sheriff's Department said another driver saw Koehler lying in the middle of the road and called 911. Koehler was taken by Flight for Life to the hospital where he died from his injuries.
"It's so sad that he's leaving his children and his grandchildren, it's just heartbreaking," Lederer said.
It's also heartbreaking for his many brothers at the Waubeka Fire Department. Several nearby fire departments have been sending their condolences.
"It's going to hurt a lot of people," Lederer said. "Everybody knew him."
The sheriff's department said speed and alcohol do not appear to be factors in the accident. The Waubeka Fire Department is asking everyone to keep his family in your thoughts and prayers.