HAMBURG (WAOW) – An Athens teenager died when the car he was driving drifted off a rural road into a ditch, struck a culvert, went airborne, "began flipping" and ended up in a field on its roof, according to Marathon County Sheriff Department reports reviewed Wednesday.
John M. Koehler, 18, was ejected from the 2000 Ford Focus and died at the scene on County Road S near Hamburg about 4 p.m. Sunday, the reports said.
Koehler’s actions were unknown, including whether he was distracted, but investigators recovered his cell phone in the car "for a data extraction," the reports said. Also there was "no avoidance maneuver" on the straight stretch of road between County Road F and Rainbow Drive.
A man outside a home told police he saw the Focus go by and it "appeared to be going the speed limit and not driving recklessly at all," the reports said.
Drugs and alcohol were not believed to be factors in the crash, investigators have said.
Koehler graduated from Merrill High School, was an avid deer hunter, had a passion for participating in tractor pulls, was an Allis-Chalmers fan and liked to snowmobile and spend time with friends, according to his obituary.
Funeral services will be Friday at 11 a.m. at Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church in the Town of Berlin. Waid Funeral Home & Cremation Service of Merrill is assisting the family with arrangements.