Driver killed after crashing car into St. Joseph Parish School

GRAFTON -- 22-year-old Kenneth Gebel of West Bend died after crashing his vehicle into a brick wall at St. Joseph Parish School in Grafton Monday morning.

A preliminary investigation reveals Gebel was traveling southbound on County Road V (Grafton Avenue) at between 80 and 85 miles an hour. Authorities say Gebel lost control of the vehicle as he approached Highway 60 (Washington St.). After Gebel lost control, he struck St. Joseph Parish School located in the 1500 block of Washington Street.

Gebel was pronounced dead at an Ozaukee hospital.

A bottle of open alcohol was found at the scene of the crash. Investigators also say Gebel had been drinking at a friend's house in Port Washington Sunday night. Apparently, Gebel planned to stay and sleep on the couch. It's not clear why he left the residence and got behind the wheel of a car.

The accident remains under investigation by the Grafton Police Department.

Faculty at St. Joseph Parish School say it was heart-wrenching when they found out someone crashed into the building Monday morning and died. "Very unusual, a little scary to think about. The entire car was in the entryway," Parish Director Brenda Cline said.

"Our care and concern is for people and for families, so when a tragedy like this happens, it's only a building. The building can be repaired and replaced, but you cannot replace a life, so that's why we are concerned with the family and how they are struggling with all of this," Marion Strauss with St. Joseph Parish School said.

Neighbors who live nearby say they heard the crash. "We were asleep, and it was after midnight, and we heard a thud. We thought it was something in our house, because it was that loud," Kari Schwartz said.

Classes went on Monday as usual at the school. However, there was structural damage to the entryway of the gym. Crews were on the scene Monday securing the building so it would not collapse. School officials say the building is safe, and they will continue to operate as usual.

Faculty at the school held a prayer service Monday morning after the accident.