NEW RICHMOND, Wis. -- Jena Kuhn and Ellie Meier are best friends who rarely spend a moment apart. When they are apart, their phones are never too far away so they can text each other. But texting is the last thing they want to do now after losing their good friend Jordan Johnson.
"He just was amazing," Jena said about Jordan. "I'll never meet someone like him again."
Jordan, 16, was returning home from a shopping trip with his friends Josh Goodrich, 17; Zach Zajec, 17; and Tom Wanless, 17; on Monday. Jordan texted Jena about a shirt he wanted to a buy for her.
"I texted him at 1:16 saying if it was a cute shirt, I would be proud to wear it and he never wrote back and I knew something was wrong cause he always replies," Jena said.
The SUV Jordan and his friends were in rear-ended a semi that was stopped in heavy traffic on Interstate 94, according to the Wisconsin State Patrol. Jordan and Josh died. Zach, the driver, remains in critical condition at Regions Hospital and Tom is in fair condition.
Ellie only met Josh a few times through Jordan but said the two were great friends.
"They're caring. They're just really respectful. Just their bubbly spirit," Ellie said.
Wisconsin Department of Transportation spokesperson Chris Ouellette said the stretch of I-94 near Hudson where the teens were driving is undergoing a two-year construction project. The Wisconsin DOT has added numerous signage, dropped the speed limit and increased patrol presence to help with accidents, but still, there have been half a dozen accidents in that zone since the spring, Ouellette said.
The Wisconsin State Patrol and DOT are trying to figure out why there's been a spike and how to prevent more from happening. But for now, Ouellette said they want everyone to slow down and pay attention.
Jena and Ellie's phones are constantly ringing with messages from friends. Sometimes, it's still too hard to even pick up.
"I'm still trying on working on using my phone," Jena said. "It's just hard because I'm waiting for a text from him and I feel like every text I get is from him so I just need to comprehend things. None of it seems real."
All four teens were going to be seniors at New Richmond High School this fall. The senior class has decided to dedicate their senior shirts to Jordan and Josh.
Counselors will be available at the high school from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. all week for students and staff who need their services.
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