Emergency vehicles line County Road E north of Ripon last week Saturday.
Emergency vehicles line County Road E north of Ripon last week Saturday.

   Dana Hielke is grateful.

   Not because her husband was seriously injured in a snowmobile crash last week Saturday afternoon.

   But because the situation could have been so much worse.

   With the help of a bystander Dana calls a hero, Dennis Hielke, 53, of Ripon survived despite a crushed leg and blood loss after colliding with a pickup truck he didn’t see coming on a driveway he didn’t know crossed the snowmobile trail.

   “I know it was a tragic situation, but there were a lot of blessings — one second different in timing could have resulted in completely different circumstances,” Dana said. “So, so blessed.”

   Now, two surgeries later, Dennis is recovering at UW Hospital in Madison, with a path toward recovery available, albeit a long path.

   The crash occurred on the trail adjacent to County Road E just north of Ripon along a stretch of the trail that was wooded with limited visibility to the sides, according to Dana.

   The Hielkes had been out for lunch and were on their way back toward Ripon, heading south on the trail.

Read the full story, including details of what happened in the crash, in the Feb. 6, 2020 edition of the Ripon Commonwealth Press.