NEW BERLIN - A mistake on the Interstate cost a Waukesha woman her life.
We see it all the time -- a car broken down on the side of the road. This time, the driver got out and tried to walk across the highway when she was killed. We rode along with a Waukesha County deputy who says it's a tragedy that you can help prevent.
It was a tragic scene on I-43 early Saturday morning. A 54-year-old Waukesha woman died after she got out of her disabled car and was hit by oncoming traffic.
Deputy Rebecca Wittig has seen it before and knows what it's like to deliver the deavastating news.
"It's very sad. It's probably one of the hardest parts of the job," said Deputy Rebecca Wittig with the Waukesha County Sheriff's office. "No one ever wants to deliver bad news to a family about another family member."
It's news Bobby Jiles, Sr. received when his son was sent over the Hoan Bridge as he tried to repair his stalled car back in 2011.
"My first born and only son," he said.
So what do you do? First and foremost -- respect how risky other people can be.
"People often go over the speed limit so when you're on the side of the road, you know especially with a lot of the distracted driving that goes on today, it's very dangerous," Wittig added.
A big factor is people just don't realize how fast highway speeds are. A car that's 100 yards away from you traveling 60 miles an hour can hit you in just 3 seconds.
That's why deputies say stay in your car -- it serves as a barrier between you and other vehicles. Keep your seatbelt on and your hand on the phone for help because danger doesn't discriminate.
"Accidents happen to everybody," Wittig said. "They don't pick and choose."
If you see someone on the side of the road, you should also call for help, but don't stop. Instead, get out of their way. It's state law that you slow down and move over for stranded drivers.