West Allis Man Dies in Rollover Crash on I-94

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  • Video by wtmj.com

  • Photo: Diane Pathieu

MILWAUKEE - Milwaukee County Sheriff's Deputies had to close all the lanes of I-94 southbound at Rawson Ave. for much of the morning rush hour after a deadly rollover crash near Drexel Avenue.

Christopher Smith, 29, died in the two-car crash that happened at about 5:50 a.m. Wednesday morning.

Witnesses say that Smith's car was weaving in and out of traffic.

It appears that he clipped an 18-wheeler, lost control and rolled over.

Because he wasn't buckled in, he was ejected from his car.

The Milwaukee County Medical Examiner's office pronounced Smith, who was from West Allis, dead at the scene.

"(Not) wearing a seat belt is the single most important way to be ejected from the vehicle or thrown around in a crash, and that's what happened here," said Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke to TODAY'S TMJ4's Diane Pathieu.

Up close video TODAY'S TMJ4 captured from the crash scene showed one car badly damaged, and the second car on its roof a few feet away.

No one was injured in the other car.

Clarke says investigators think the driver of the semi may not have been realized they were hit, and drove off.

That driver could be a witness to this deadly crash.

The backup reached the Mitchell Interchange at its peak.

Many affected drivers didn't know what was going on, and many of them stopped at the Mobil station at the corner of South 27th Street and West Rawson Avenue.

Some of them asked Jackie, the manager there, what was going on.

"It was non-stop people coming in," said Jackie.  "I had heard about the accident.  Everybody's coming in, asking how to get back on the freeway going to Chicago.  Everyone was late already.  They were cranky that they couldn't get back on."

In the meantime, the message to drivers is clear: buckle up.

"Put that seat belt on, if not for yourself, for other people, your kids, your spouse, your family, so and so forth," said Clarke.  "Wear it for them."