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Car full of children crashes

MONROE — A driver who crashed an SUV full of children, including six under the age of 10, said he “blacked out” before crossing the center line and hitting an oncoming vehicle last week near Brodhead, according to the Green County Sheriff’s Office.

No major injuries were reported from the accident, but the driver faces citations for not having five of the seven children properly restrained with seatbelts or carseats.

Giovanni A. Reynolds, 25, Brodhead, lost consciousness due to an apparent medical condition. Deputies at the accident scene found no reason to suspect he was under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

The accident happened in the W1600 block of Wisconsin 11 just before 8 p.m. Thursday.

Reynolds told deputies he “blacked out” and became unconscious while driving. His westbound 2005 Ford Expedition crossed the center line and hit an oncoming 2000 Oldsmobile Bravada driven by Gerrad N. Shoemaker, 17, Brodhead.

The impact caused Reynolds’ SUV to swing westbound and onto the south shoulder of the road. It rolled, landing back on its tires. All the airbags deployed.

Shoemaker’s SUV went off the road and onto the south shoulder as well, but his airbags did not deploy. He was alone in the vehicle and sustained minor injuries but declined EMS transport.

Reynolds and his wife, Mercedes M. Reynolds, 24, who was sitting next to him, sustained injuries. Five of their six children in the SUV, ages 3, 4, 5, 6 and 9, sustained minor injuries.

Their 2-year-old child and an unrelated 17-year-old passenger, Natalia G. Martinez, Evansville, were spared injury.

The 2-year-old and 3-year-old were in car seats. All other children were not properly restrained at the time of the accident, the deputies found.

Everyone in the vehicle was taken by Green County EMS to the Monroe Clinic ER.

In addition to the citations for not having children properly restrained, Giovanni Reynolds faces a possible citation for not having his vehicle insured. 

The sheriff’s office is also referring the case to the Department of Transportation “for further determination on the driver’s medical status.”

Brodhead EMS and the Juda Fire Department assisted deputies and Green County EMS at the scene.