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Woman hits tractor cargo, keeps driving, charged with OWI

DARLINGTON — A Louisiana woman faces multiple charges in two counties, including drunken driving with a toddler in the vehicle, after police say she fled the scene of a crash Wednesday evening on Wisconsin 11.

Gloria G. Cernek, 58, Elton, was injured in the accident and taken by ambulance to Memorial Hospital of Lafayette County for treatment before being jailed in Darlington, according to Lafayette County Sheriff Reg Gill.

The crash happened shortly before 7:45 p.m. Wednesday in the W9200 block of Wis. 11, Town of Cadiz.

Investigation by Green County deputies found that Cernek was westbound on Wis. 11 when she crossed the center line and hit equipment being hauled behind an eastbound tractor.

The tractor’s driver, Garrett J. Rauch, 20, Baldwin, Iowa, was uninjured. His tractor was undamaged but the equipment he was hauling sustained moderate damage.

Cernek kept driving westbound on Wis. 11, despite extensive damage to her vehicle, Gill said.

“She was still driving when our deputy stopped her (in Gratiot),” he said. 

A witness to the accident had followed her, he added. Her 3-year-old passenger was uninjured.

Deputies located a gun on the floorboard of her vehicle, Gill said. The weapon had been stashed under a seat but got “jarred loose” during the accident.

“It was actually her husband’s,” Gill said, but it was registered only to him. “Unfortunately, he was not in the vehicle.”

Cernek was arrested on charges in Lafayette County of carrying an unauthorized concealed weapon and first-offense operating while intoxicated with a minor passenger.

In Green County, she faces charges of hit and run, failure to notify police of an accident and operating left of the center line.

Darlington Ambulance, Gratiot First Response and the Gratiot Fire Department assisted on scene.