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Superior police officer arrested following fatal crash

Off-duty police sergeant Greg Swanson was arrested following an early morning crash that left one person dead and two others injured. Charges are pending.

A Wisconsin State Patrol officer takes photographs at the scene of a crash where a person was killed along East Second Street
A Wisconsin State Patrol officer takes photographs at the scene of a crash where a person was killed along East Second Street in Superior on Friday, July 15.
Jed Carlson / Superior Telegram
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SUPERIOR — An off-duty Superior police officer was involved in an early morning crash that resulted in the death of a 23-year-old man believed to be from Eau Claire.

The crash occurred around 1:15 a.m. Friday, July 15, in the 5200 block of East Second Street, according to a news release issued by Superior Police Chief Nicholas Alexander. The vehicles were northbound on East Second Street when the rear-end crash occurred.

Gergory Matthew Swanson.jpeg
Gregory Matthew Swanson
Contributed / Douglas County Jail

The driver of one of the vehicles was identified as off-duty Superior police officer Sgt. Greg Swanson, the news release said.

The man who died was traveling in the other vehicle with three other people, two of whom were transported to a local hospital. Their status was unknown when the news release was sent, Alexander said.

Because the incident involved a Superior police officer, the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office and Wisconsin State Patrol are investigating the incident. The Superior Police Department typically requests that an outside agency investigate incidents that involve its officers, Alexander said.

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The initial investigation resulted in Swanson's arrest by the sheriff’s office on a preliminary charge of homicide by intoxicated use of a motor vehicle, according to the news release. He remains in custody at the Douglas County Jail.

A smashed up car rests on the sidewalk along East Second Street
A smashed up car rests on the sidewalk along East Second Street where a person was killed on Friday, July 15, in Superior.
Jed Carlson / Superior Telegram

Swanson, a 15-year veteran of the police department, has been placed on administrative leave per department policy while the investigation continues.

“This is a sad and tragic incident,” Alexander said. “We wish to express our sympathy to the family and friends on the deceased, and our hopes of a speedy and successful recovery for the other occupants involved.”

Douglas County District Attorney Mark Fruehauf said he will request that a special prosecutor be appointed from an outside office to review the matter for charges and, if charges are issued, to prosecute the case.

Swanson has worked closely with the DA's office and its prosecutors on many cases over the years, Fruehauf said in a news release, and a special prosecutor will ensure the matter is objectively reviewed and handled.

The earliest Swanson is expected to make a court appearance would be Monday, July 18, for a bail hearing, Fruehauf said.

Officers block a fatal crash scene from the view of passing motorists
Officers block a fatal crash scene from the view of passing motorists along East Second Street on Friday, July 15, in Superior.
Jed Carlson / Superior Telegram
Superior police officer Taavi Mattson, left, and Lt. Thor Trone secure the scene of a fatal crash
Superior police officer Taavi Mattson, left, and Lt. Thor Trone secure the scene of a fatal crash along East Second Street on Friday, July 15, in Superior.
Jed Carlson / Superior Telegram
The hand of a Wisconsin State Patrol officer zips up a tent before shooting photographs of the crash scene
The hand of a Wisconsin State Patrol officer zips up a tent before shooting photographs of a crash scene where a person was killed along East Second Street on Friday, July 15, in Superior.
Jed Carlson / Superior Telegram

Shelley Nelson is a reporter with the Duluth Media Group since 1997, and has covered Superior and Douglas County communities and government for the Duluth News Tribune from 1999 to 2006, and the Superior Telegram since 2006. Contact her at 715-395-5022 or snelson@superiortelegram.com.
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