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Two Nicolet sophomore girls killed in car crash

Nov. 19, 2011

Two 15-year-old girls who were sophomores at Nicolet High School died early Saturday in a one-car crash in Glendale after River Hills police attempted to stop the car because the taillights weren't on and the young driver fled at a high rate of speed, authorities said.

Halee Ludowise-Fischer of Glendale and Jennifer Geren of Fox Point died in the 1 a.m. crash at W. Good Hope Road and N. Seneca Ave., Glendale Police Lt. Donald Haffner said.

Ludowise-Fischer, who had a learner's permit, was driving her mother's 2009 Mitsubishi, Haffner said. After River Hills police tried to stop her, she sped east on Good Hope Road. Police did not pursue because the taillight violation was minor, Haffner said.

Ludowise-Fischer lost control of the car in Glendale, and the car hit a stop sign and then a utility pole before coming to rest on its side with the roof against a tree about four blocks east of I-43 on Good Hope Road, Haffner said. Both girls died at the scene.

Haffner said there was no evidence of alcohol. An autopsy is routinely done in fatal crashes. Both girls were wearing seat belts, police said.

Nicolet Superintendent Rick Monroe rushed to the high school at 7:20 a.m. after his school cellphone rang with the news that two students had died in an early morning car crash. He called in the district's crisis response team, including all administrators and guidance counselors.

Students began showing up at the school as word spread through Facebook, text messages and phone calls. A teacher invited students gathered in the school parking lot to go inside, where counselors could talk with them.

Students also gathered at the crash scene, where they left flowers and, in the evening, lighted candles. They wrote messages and taped a photograph of the pair on a new utility pole that replaced a pole snapped in the crash.

"Love you, Halee," said one message; "Love you, J.," said another.

"They were two of the nicest girls I ever met in my life. Halee always had a smile on her face," said Rebecca Garrison, a Nicolet senior. She said Ludowise-Fischer had volunteered with special-needs students as part of a Best Buddies organization and persuaded others to volunteer, too.

Ludowise-Fischer was on the student council and was a member of the principal's advisory team, a group that occasionally meets with the principal to discuss school issues.

Geren was a member of the gymnastics team. She "had friends everywhere," and of all ages, said Eddie Cybele, a Nicolet junior at the crash scene Saturday evening.

"Both young ladies had a large network of friends," Monroe said. "Both had a diverse group of friends. You'd see them with different groups of kids all the time."

A theater event scheduled at the school Saturday night was canceled.

"We lost the lives of two of our students," Monroe said. "We need to have this day to reflect and to gather ourselves."

Monroe said a team of counselors will be available at the high school before school and throughout the day on Monday. He encouraged any student who doesn't feel like going to school to go anyway and be with friends and counselors who can help them.

The superintendent planned to send a voice mail Sunday afternoon to parents, assuring them that the school will be prepared to help all kids having a difficult time.

Friends were grappling with both the decisions the girls made before the crash and the trauma of losing close friends who were good kids, one parent said.

Tom Tolan of the Journal Sentinel staff contributed to this report.

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