CUDAHY, Wis. – A car plunged off a bridge early Saturday and burst into flames, killing five men in suburban Milwaukee. The car was traveling south at Interstate 794 around 3 a.m. and didn't stop at the end of the freeway, which is an off-ramp to Layton Avenue in Cudahy (search), according to a police department news release.
The car went across Layton Avenue, smashed through a cement barrier and fence on the bridge and fell 40 feet to the gravel road below that is being constructed as an extension to the interstate. The car burst into flames.
Authorities discovered the five people after fire fighters extinguished the fire.
Police said the victims appear to be adult males from outside Wisconsin, but they were working with the Milwaukee County medical examiner's office Saturday to find out further information.
A makeshift metal railing was constructed for the barrier's hole with five orange plastic barrels sitting in front of it. There were no skid marks.
Stella Gonzalez, 45, and her daughter, who did not want to be named, stood on top of the bridge Saturday afternoon. Gonzalez said one of the people in the car was her daughter's boyfriend. She did not want to make any other comment.
The daughter was crying as she grasped the fence and looked at the blackened mark on the ground below.
Sunanda Williams, 42, said she was awake at her nearby home when the crash happened and she heard a loud screech.
"It's like somebody was speeding and tried to press the brakes and then I heard a crankling noise," she said.
Karrie Schurrer, 30, a bartender at the Rustic Pub & Grill, which is right off the ramp, said there are many accidents at the intersection, especially in the winter.
"That's the first time anybody's gone over," she said.
Crystal Williams, an investigator with the medical examiner's office, said autopsies would be performed Sunday.
A police dispatcher said no one was available to talk about the crash Saturday. A message left for command officials wasn't immediately returned Saturday.
The crash is near the St. Francis border and General Mitchell International Airport (search).