BLACK RIVER FALLS — A former Platteville police officer who went on to become a police chief died while helping during a car crash.
Richard J. Zenz, 65, Iron River, helped rescue a motorist in a burning car in Jackson County July 12. After the crash, Zenz collapsed and died at the scene, according to KQDS-TV in Duluth.
The crash occurred on Jackson County K northeast of Black River Falls around 12:30 p.m. According to the Jackson County Chronicle, Brandon Rave, 27, Black River Falls, was driving on K when he came upon slow-moving traffic, including a vehicle pulling off the road to fix a flat tire on a boat trailer.
Rave’s car collided with two vehicles, knocking the boat off its trailer, before it caught fire. People at the scene put out the fire, the Chronicle reported.
Zenz, a native of Prairie du Chien who graduated from Bloomington High School, served in the U.S. Army from 1968 to 1970, then worked with the Federal Bureau of Investigation for one year.
Zenz was a police officer in Platteville from 1971 to 1991. Zenz then moved to Iron River and became its police chief, retiring in 2010.
Zenz is survived by his mother, Dolores, of Bloomington; one daughter, Kori, of Port Wing; five grandchildren; and two brothers, Scott, of Bloomington, and Kelly, of Lynnwood, Wash.
A Celebration of Life for Zenz will be held at the VFW Hall in Bloomington Friday at 2 p.m.