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An elderly retiree on vacation was killed during a drawbridge accident in Wisconsin on Monday.
Richard Dujardin, 77, was walking across the Kilbourn Avenue bridge when it began to rise. He was on his way to church and trying to catch up to his wife of 54 years who had made it across, his family told FOX6 News.
Dujardin was a father of six. He and his wife Rosemarie did everything together. They had been married for 54 years and were in Milwaukee from Rhode Island.
“He had zest for life, he was very youthful,” Jean-Paul Dujardin, Richard’s son, said.
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The Milwaukee County Medical Examiner’s report indicates the bridge’s lights lit up, the bells sounded, and the gates came down at each end; however, family members say Dujardin was hard of hearing. He reportedly tried to grab on the side rail and “held on for 1-2 minutes” but eventually fell roughly 70 feet.
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“The drawbridge involved in this incident is controlled by the Milwaukee Department of Public Works (DPW). There are two cameras pointed at the bridge – and workers have to check them before allowing the bridge to open,” FOX6 News reports.
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A statement from DPW to the TV station says their employee working during the incident was fully trained and working on his fourth year as a bridge operator. The worker is now on leave and seeking counseling, DPW officials say.