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Wisconsin officials release names of 7 Virginia residents killed in crash that claimed 9 lives

Authorities on Monday released the names of seven Virginia residents and a Wisconsin man who were killed when their van collided with a semi-trailer in western Wisconsin. A 2-year-old child was the only survivor.

The Clark County sheriff’s office says the van’s driver, James K. McCoy, 46; Linda Byler, 44; Lydia Byler, 24; Orla Schrock, 24; Ellen Schrock, 23; Delila Schrock, 21; Suzanna Hertzler, 18; and a 6-month-old child died at the scene of Friday morning's crash at an intersection in the rural community of Dewhurst.

The semi-trailer driver, 51-year-old Daniel Liddicoat of Rewey, Wisconsin, also was pronounced dead at the scene.

“The van was going northbound and there was a stop sign there,” sheriff’s office Chief Deputy James Hirsch said. “The semi was going east and the van pulled right out in front of the semi.”

The 2-year-old was among seven victims ejected from the van by the crash, about 50 miles (80 kilometers) southeast of Eau Claire. That child's name and the name of the 6-month-old were not released. Their genders also were not released.

Nathaniel Jahn, 36, said he was on his way to work Friday morning when he stopped at the intersection and watched in disbelief as the van pulled into the path of the semi-trailer.

After calling 911, Jahn said he ran to the wreckage, where he found a woman and pulled her away from the van before he found a second woman lying next to the front of the truck, which had rolled into a ditch along State Highway 95.

He was clearing dirt and debris from the face of the second woman when Jahn said something caught his attention.

“I could hear a faint, like, whimpering sound, I remember. And it turned into a cry,” Jahn said Monday.

“I dug down through the debris listening for the cries and pulling back the debris and I noticed there was a little baby — it turned out it was a little baby boy, but I didn’t know if it was boy or a girl — it was just crying,” Jahn added. “But his arms were moving and his legs were moving, kind of in the fetal position. And I tried to comfort him and I was trying to dig out around him I remember.”

Jahn said he was extremely concerned about moving the child, but the van was burning and the child was close to the semi. He picked up the child, wrapped the child in his sweatshirt and carried the toddler to a police officer.

“I knew I had to move him, to get him away from that wreckage,” Jahn said.

Jahn, a surveyor and a former Marine, built a cross which his two daughters painted white and his wife, Jennifer, adorned with flowers. They travelled Sunday from their home near the city of Neillsville to the crash scene, where he planted the cross.

Jahn, who first gave his account to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, said he feels like he was at the intersection at that moment for a reason. “To be able to find find that little boy and, maybe ease some passing along the way,” Jahn said.

Over the weekend he and his wife visited the child at a hospital and met the child's grandparents. He said that meeting brought him some comfort because he learned the boy has “got a bunch of family to go back to.”