On August 16th, 2019 at 11:29am, the Vernon County 911 Dispatch Center received multiple 911 calls reporting a van vs. motorcycle crash on State Highway 80 south of County Road EE in the town of Greenwood.

Samantha M. Baly, age 31, of rural Wonewoc, was driving south on State Highway 80.  Baly was turning into a private driveway and did not see two motorcycles traveling north.  Baly turned into the path of motorcycle operator Stephen R. Cournia, age 78, of rural Richland Center.  Cournia could not avoid colliding with Baly’s vehicle.  Cournia was towing a small motorcycle trailer behind his motorcycle with a dog in it.  The motorcycle trailer dislodged from the motorcycle and struck another motorcycle that was behind Cournia.  The second motorcycle was operated by Bruce W. Gander, age 60, of rural Lone Rock.  Gander lost control of the motorcycle and slid down the road.

Cournia was transported from the scene by Hillsboro EMS, with serious injuries to Gundersen St. Joseph’s Hospital in Hillsboro and later flown to Gundersen Health Systems in Lacrosse by Gundersen Air.  Gander was treated and released with non-life-threatening injuries from Gundersen St. Joseph’s Hospital.  Baly had 5 juveniles in her vehicle, all reported no injuries.   Cournia’s dog was taken by private vehicle to the Madison Animal Hospital with serious injuries.


The incident remains under investigation by the Vernon County Sheriff’s Office.