By Brandi Makuski
When Taylor S. Knetsch called the City Times office last weekend, he said he didn’t remember much about the night of October 1.
Knetsch, 27, was the sole occupant of a Ford F-150 that struck a light pole in Whiting, then rolled on its side before hitting a tree on the south side of Water Street. The truck and tree burst into flames shortly after impact, but Knetsch was found by police and EMS crews about a block away from the scene.
Looking at the damage to the vehicle that night, Plover Fire Chief Mark Deaver shook his head and remarked, “I don’t know how he walked away.”
Knetsch’s vehicle hit the light pole with such force it pulled the pole from its concrete anchor, and had become wrapped around the vehicle. The pole had to be removed with a extrication saw before the truck could be towed away.
“I’m still trying to piece it together,” Knetsch said on Oct. 2. “But a lot of stuff happened really quickly.”
Knetsch said he remembers driving southeast on Water St., but couldn’t remember where he was headed.
“The next thing I remember is the airbag hitting my face and rolling a little bit,” he said. “I could feel the truck rolling around me.”
When the truck came to a stop, Knetsch said he remembers hearing someone from outside the vehicle asking if he was okay.
“I don’t even know how I was able to crawl out of the truck,” he said, adding after exiting the vehicle, he didn’t know what else to do, so he “just started wandering” away from the scene.
“That’s when I bumped into the police,” he said. “They said I looked like I was in some trouble and I needed some help.”
Knetsch said he was examined by a doctor at Ministry St. Michael’s Hospital and released with “just a few really small cuts and scrapes.”
“I have a big bruise from my seat belt, but they didn’t say I had a concussion or any head injuries,” he added.
Knetsch has been charged with first offense OWI and failure to maintain control of his vehicle, according to Portage Co. Chief Deputy Dan Kontos. Kontos confirmed a blood sample was taken from Knetsch at the hospital, but those results will take up to 30 days to be returned.
Knetsch said he was not drinking on the night of the crash, and said the only drugs in his system were prescribed by a doctor for a diagnosed medical condition.
“It’s all stuff I’ve been taking over a year,” Knetsch said, adding he “felt fine” before the crash.
Knetsch is currently a psychology student at UW-Stevens Point, with plans to graduate in the spring, and said he works full time at a local adult care facility. He is also helping raise his four-year-old daughter.
“I feel pretty lucky,” he said. “I saw the pictures of the wreck this morning; I can’t believe I got out of there.”
Knetsch will be in Portage Co. Court on Oct. 31 at 8:30 AM.