Mequon firefighter in ICU, woman killed, struck after West Allis crash
WEST ALLIS, Wis. - Mequon Firefighter Josh Lipp was seriously hurt when he was struck by a vehicle after stopping to help at the scene of a crash in West Allis Friday morning, Dec. 23. A woman who was also struck died as a result of her injuries. The striking driver was arrested.
The woman who died was identified by family as Xuan Nguyen Rollmann. A GoFundMe.com page set up by her family says she was on her way to work when the crash happened. Her sister says she worked two jobs while being a full-time mother to a 3- and 1-year-old.
The Professional Fire Fighters of Wisconsin established a charitable donation page for Lipp.
According to the Milwaukee County Sheriff's Office, just after 9 a.m. Friday, two vehicles were involved in a crash on I-894 near National Avenue and pulled over to the side of the road.
The collision happened in front of Lipp. The off-duty firefighter/paramedic stopped and tried to help at the crash scene. One of the drivers involved in the crash, a woman, then got out of her vehicle, too.
Moments later, authorities said a fourth vehicle came along and struck Lipp and the woman. The woman died from her injuries, and Lipp was seriously hurt.
"He helps people," said Mequon Fire Chief David Bialk. "That what’s he does here, and that’s what he did out on the freeway. It didn’t surprise me that he decided to stop."
Jolene Reit was involved in the initial crash.
"I didn’t know at the time, but he was a firefighter. I ended up thinking about it. It was his first instinct to make sure everyone was OK," said Reit. "I just think about everybody that puts their life on the line. He wasn’t even on the clock, and he put his life on the line."
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"Our thoughts and prayers are with the woman that was killed on the freeway that Josh stopped to help," said Chief Bialk.
Chief Bialk said Lipp suffered a broken back, broken ribs and some injuries to his hand. He said Lipp has a long road to recovery. He said his firefighter's actions speak volumes.
"Well, Josh wouldn’t call himself a hero," said Bialk. "Josh was out there doing what he does. He helps people all the time."
Chief Bialk said he and Lipp's co-workers look forward to his return.
"He seems very positive," said Bialk. "He was upbeat this morning when I talked to him, and he can’t wait to get back."
Lipp has been an active member of the Mequon Fire Department since Sept. 3, 2009 and was hired full-time on April 18, 2022.
The sheriff's office told FOX6 that the driver of the fourth vehicle was arrested for operating while suspended – causing death.
City of Mequon statement:
"The City of Mequon is saddened by, and mourns the tragic loss of life that resulted from, the multi-vehicle accident that occurred in the vicinity of I-894 and National Avenue on Thursday, December 23. The City is also thankful that one of its first responders, Firefighter/Paramedic Josh Lipp, who stopped to help, is recovering from several major injuries sustained during this horrific event. Firefighter/Paramedic Lipp is to be saluted and commended for rendering aid while off-duty to others in need, and his actions truly represent the best of the community, and all who work in public safety. The City of Mequon wishes Josh and all others affected by this tragedy a full and complete recovery in the coming weeks and months ahead."