DIgging Deeper: Widow maintains State Patrol botched husband's t - ABC21: Your Weather Authority

DIgging Deeper: Widow maintains State Patrol botched husband's traffic death investigation

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JEFFERSON COUNTY (WKOW) -- It has been more than a year since a brake drum flew off a semi-truck in Johnson Creek, pierced the windshield of Jay Tichelaar's Honda SUV, and killed him, and Tichelaar's widow says the State Patrol's investigation into what happened has been flawed.

State highway video of the critical, eastbound stretch of Highway 90/94 at the time Tichelaar's SUV was hit, was not preserved.

"I was irate, I felt betrayed, they had given me hope that there would be, that the truck would be found,"  Joleen Tichelaar tells 27 News.

Tichelaar also says it took her intervention to persuade State Patrol investigators to contact some witnesses with possible information on the semi that lost the brake drum. 

Witness Janice Schroedel was a passenger in a sedan traveling at roughly the same time and in the same, highway direction as Jay Tichelaar's Honda.  That sedan was hit by semi-truck tire parts and debris, with the vehicle a total loss.  Schroedel says she called the State Patrol once she learned Tichelaar's SUV had also been hit, and waited days to hear from a trooper.

"I was absolutely shocked at the lack of responsiveness,"  Schroedel tells 27 News.

State Patrol officials say investigators conscientiously followed up on leads, processed witness information, and checked bar codes on the crash debris to try to find the semi truck responsible for the brake part failure and Jay Tichelaar's death.

But what about the erased video, and its potential to have captured images of the involved semi-truck? 

Thursday on 27 News at 10, Tony Galli is Digging Deeper into grief over a highway death, and the questions over the state investigation's methods.

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