Mother and daughter killed in Saturday collision

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Gillett High School senior was due to graduate in two weeks
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Screen capture from gofundme.org

Gillett community members contributed more than $1,000 in 24 hours to a crowdfunding web page set up to aid the family of Connie Schuettpelz and her daughter, Crystal Marohl, who were killed in a traffic crash Saturday afternoon.

Gillett was plunged into mourning Saturday after a talented high school senior and her mother were killed in a collision between their car and semi-trailer truck.

Crystal Marohl, 18, was due to graduate May 28 with the rest of the class of 2017. She and her mother, Connie Schuettpelz, 54, were pronounced dead at the scene, Oconto County Sheriff Mike Jansen said.

The Oconto County Sheriff’s Department statement said the crash occurred at about 4 p.m. on County Road B at Beaver Lake Road in the town of Oconto Falls when the westbound passenger car pulled out in front of the northbound truck.

The preliminary investigation indicated the driver of the car failed to yield from the stop sign and was struck by the truck in the intersection. Speed and alcohol do not appear to be factors in the crash, the department said.

Despite rescue efforts the two occupants of the car were pronounced dead at the scene. The operator of the semi was not injured.

Marohl was a member of the high school forensics team that sent more than a dozen members to the Wisconsin Forensics Association state competition last month. She earned a silver medal All-State Award.

“She was a very nice girl who touched a lot of staff and students,” Superintendent Todd Carlson said. “She was really involved, very active in the school.”

In addition to forensics, she also participated in choir, band, agriculture, volleyball and other activities, he said.

A GoFundMe page established Sunday night by fellow student Sarah Nauck to help the family with expenses raised more than its $1,000 goal in the first 24 hours.

“Crystal was such a bright spirit with an unshakeable confidence that many wish they could possess,” said the page’s introduction. “She was loud and proud of it, always striking up a conversation in the middle of class, which maybe wasn’t always at the most opportune times. Her passion for animals was unrivaled and (she) planned to attend UW-River Falls to major in animal science with an emphasis on dairy cattle.”

Of Schuettpelz, it said, “Connie was a kind and caring women, always wanting the best for her family and loved ones. She can be remembered as always going out of her way to provide for her children.”

Word spread quickly through the small, tight-knit community Saturday night, and friends and family shared words of shock and grief on social media. Gillett students wore blue in the two ladies’ memory on Monday.

Counselors were available at the school Monday and Tuesday to provide support for students and staff members, Carlson said.

Arrangements were being made through Simply Cremation of Green Bay. Plans for a memorial service this weekend were still pending as of Tuesday morning.

Agencies assisting with rescue operations and traffic management included the Oconto County Sheriff’s Office, the Wisconsin State Patrol, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Oconto Falls Fire, and Gillett Area Ambulance performed rescue operations and traffic management. The crash remains under investigation.