Town of Salem Public Safety officer killed in crash on Highway 50 in Kenosha County

KENOSHA COUNTY -- A Town of Salem Public Safety officer was killed Friday, July 8th in a crash on Highway 50 that resulted in the closure of all lanes at County B.

The deceased was identified Saturday as Michael Josua Ventura, by officials with the Wisconsin State Patrol, who are handling this investigation.

The crash happened around 6:00 p.m.

State Patrol officials say the on-duty officer was in his department squad car with the emergency lights activated -- headed westbound on State Highway 50, approximately a half-mile east of County Highway B in the Town of Salem when his vehicle left the roadway -- traveling into the ditch area on Highway 50.

The 33-year-old officer was ejected from the vehicle. He was taken to Froedtert Hospital in Milwaukee via Flight for Life, where he was later pronounced dead.

Tony Hendley

FOX6 News spoke with Tony Hendley, a close friend of the victim.

"I received a phone call from another one of my brothers in law enforcement. Was able to put the connection together," Hendley said. "A gentle soul, with a huge heart and a huge smile and a huge laugh. He's all about giving to other people, so it's very understanding that public service would be perfect for the for the kind of personality that he had."

Hendley is a Lake County corrections officer, and said he met Ventura about a decade ago.

Over the years, Hendley said he and Ventura became close friends.

Michael Josua Ventura

"Maintained that relationship since. I considered him to be a little brother," Hendley said.

Hendley said Ventura worked in corrections for many years, but recently put himself through police training at Gateway Technical College in Kenosha. Hendley said Ventura graduated in May.

"He loved the challenge. He loved the new experience, absolutely loved the department, the chief specifically," Hendley said.

Hendley said Ventura leaves behind a young wife.

"He absolutely loved and cherished and adored his family -- especially his wife," Hendley said.

An investigation is ongoing as to the cause of the crash.

Funeral arrangements have been set for Ventura.

A memorial service will be held on Thursday, July 14th. A visitation will be held Wednesday, July 13th.

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