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DPW worker, 64, killed instantly in Wauwatosa crash, remembered at family vigil

By Nick Bohr

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    WAUWATOSA, Wisconsin (WISN) — The victims in Tuesday’s fiery 10-vehicle crash in Wauwatosa are now all publicly identified. Witnesses say a Milwaukee DPW truck was traveling 60 to 70 miles an hour when it slammed into nine vehicles cars stopped at the red light on Mayfair Road and Wisconsin Avenue.

The driver of the truck, 64-year-old Denise Durrah, was killed instantly. Her daughter, Maggie Rosera, told WISN 12 News Durrah “did experience a medical emergency and could not maintain control of the vehicle. This is supported by her medical history and events leading up to the accident,” she said.

Wauwatosa Police and the State Patrol are still investigating.

At a vigil Tuesday evening, Durrah was remembered as a minister and a “woman of great character” who, in 2019, was honored for saving the lives of a woman and her baby in a car crash. At the time, Durrah was working as a parking checker. She’d worked for DPW since 2018 and, at the time of the crash, was a city laborer as part of a pothole repair crew. She was in the vehicle alone when it crashed.

At the vigil, Durrah’s friend Estelle Cockroft called her a “sister in everything but blood.” She spoke to several dozen friends and family gathered in front of Durrah’s home on North 42nd Street.

“We know Denise. We know the love that she had for people. We know the love, she took the Scripture ‘when I was hungry, you fed me when I was naked, you clothed me,’ she believed in that. And every person who has been in her life would never forget her.”

Paul Woida, 85, of Milwaukee, and 40-year-old Amy Miller, of Cedarburg, were also killed in the crash. Families of both indicated they didn’t wish to comment.

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