MENOMONEE FALLS — A 24-year-old man died and his 25-year-old sister was injured after a driver struck them in a Pick ‘n Save parking lot in Menomonee Falls following the city's fireworks display Sunday night.
The victims' pastor identified them as Ben and Emily Grace Reimers.
Menomonee Falls police originally reported they were both seriously injured, but since then the man passed away at the hospital.
The incident happened around 10:08 p.m. in the lot on Appleton Avenue just as the fireworks concluded.
Police say the 18-year-old driver lost control and struck the two people. The two victims, both from North Carolina, were brought to hospitals with serious injuries. The 25-year-old woman is being treated for life-threatening injuries.
Police say the 18-year-old driver from Germantown had two juvenile passengers in the vehicle. None of the occupants were injured and the driver remained at the scene of the crash.
Police said they believe it to be an unintentional act. Alcohol and drugs do not appear to be a factor.
They are asking for any members of the public that witnessed this crash or have video of the crash to contact their agency at 262-532-8700.
Multiple agencies responded with assistance, due to a large number of people in the area for the fireworks.
"It seems to have been a tragic accident and nothing more than that. But again, that's under investigation," said Menomonee Falls Police Capt. Gene Neyhart.
A Menomonee Falls church community is mourning the pair of sibling parishoners.
Senior Pastor Wayne Van Gelderen of Falls Baptist Church says they have been with the church for eight years, and he describes them as "the heart and soul" of the music program.
On Sunday night, the siblings were surrounded by their fellow parishioners watching the fireworks.
"For at least 20 plus years, we have the southeast end of the Pick 'N Save parking lot so that we can get a good view of the fireworks," said Pastor Van Gelderen. "They've always allowed us to set up there, we had food there, we had a couple hundred people, and it's a festive time."
Pastor Van Gelderen says Emily is a preschool teacher at the church, and Ben was studying at seminary to become a pastor.
"The thing that's the hardest for our people is not the trauma of the moment, but the loss of someone that gave of himself to our teenagers, to our children," the pastor said. "I'm not just eulogizing here. I have never seen such a giving, sacrificial young man. He's just one of those one-of-a-kind. He was just a tremendous blessing."
Investigators say the driver stayed on scene and cooperated with authorities. They do not believe alcohol or drugs played are a factor. Instead, investigators are calling it a "tragic accident."
"I had friends reach out to me today who actually witnessed what happened, and so there's just a deep sense of shock," said Menomonee Falls Village President Dave Glasgow. "This, it could have been a lot worse, given the number of people in the parking lot at that time, exiting to their cars after the fireworks."