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Wisconsin Senate leader involved in car crash that killed mom, 5-year-old daughter, police say

A Wisconsin Senate Democrat was involved in a car crash last Friday that left two people dead, including a 27-year-old Pennsylvania mom and her 5-year-old daughter, police said. 

Minority Leader Janet Bewley, 70, who represents northwestern Wisconsin, was not injured in the crash, according to her office. 

“We’ll be sitting down with them and going over everything as far as determining how it all actually happened,” Ashland Police Chief Bill Hagstrom told the Ashland Daily Press. “Then we’ll forward everything to the district attorney for their review because it was a fatal accident.”

No charges have been filed yet, and the State Patrol was reconstructing the crash. 


The accident occurred on Friday just before 12:30 p.m. after Bewley pulled out of a Lake Superior beach entrance and into the path of a car driven by Alyssa Ortman, according to the Ashland Police Department. When Ortman’s car collided with Bewley’s, it spun across Highway 2 and was hit by another vehicle. 

Ortman’s 5-year-old daughter was pronounced dead at the crash scene. Ortman was transported to a nearby hospital where she later died, according to police. Hagstrom said Bewley was not taken to the hospital.

“This is a heartbreaking event for the community. Our thoughts and prayers are focused on the individuals involved, their families and their loved ones,” Bewley’s office said in a statement to Fox News Tuesday. “Senator Bewley, who was not seriously injured in the accident, wants to thank all the dedicated law enforcement and emergency medical personnel who helped in the aftermath of the accident.”

Bewley, a member of the state Senate since 2015, is not seeking reelection.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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