Wauwatosa, WI – Racine Police Department (RPD) Officer Jennifer Diener died on Feb. 15, nearly one week after she was injured in a two-vehicle crash as she was coming home from a ski trip with her family.
Officer Diener, 48, was on her way back from a vacation in Colorado with her husband, Brian, and her 15-year-old daughter, Taylor, when the collision occurred on Feb. 9, The Journal Times reported.
The trio had just stopped by Officer Diener’s mother’s residence to pick up their dog, and were within miles of their own home when their vehicle crashed into a second car on Highway 20 near 63rd Drive, according to WTMJ.
“It was a very happy family that left my home on Sunday,” said Officer Diener’s mother, Jean Jacobson. “Within 10 minutes I got the call that there was a bad accident and from then on I kept pinching myself hoping would wake up from this bad dream.”
“They were almost home – two minutes from home,” Jacobson told The Journal Times.
Elizabeth Olszewski, 32, was killed in the crash, and nine others were injured.
The off-duty officer was rushed to Froedtert Hospital in Wauwatosa, where she remained until she succumbed to her injuries at approximately 11:20 p.m. on Feb. 15.
Her husband is recovering from a broken vertebra, and her daughter suffered a concussion.
The exact cause of the fatal crash has not been released, but slick, snow-covered roadways are believed to have been a contributing factor.
“This community and my family to be devastated is truly an understatement,” Jacobson told WTMJ.
Officer Diener, a 24-year veteran-of-the-force, was also an organ donor.
“Jennifer’s legacy is going to really help a lot of people make their dreams come true and to be able to live a much better life,” Jacobson said of her only daughter. “Helping people is a certain calling and she had it.”
Officer Diener was looking forward to her retirement, which was less than two years away, The Journal Times reported.
“The world lost one of its finest tonight,” the fallen officer’s husband said in a statement to The Journal Times. “Jen Diener loved life, loved her daughter Taylor, husband, family, many friends, and co-workers. We will always remember Jen’s laugh, smile, and personality. Thank you for your prayers and support. Be sure to let those close to you know that you love them today.”
Racine Mayor Cory Mason also released a statement in the wake of the veteran officer’s tragic death.
“The City of Racine lost a dedicated public servant, wife, mother, and friend to so many,” Mason said, according to WTMJ. “Our thoughts are with everyone who knew Officer Jennifer Diener.”
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Racine Police Department Officer Jennifer Diener, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.
Rest easy, hero. We’ll hold the line from here.