MS-sufferer, 66, escapes injury
Apr 8, 2003
By James Kogutkiewicz
Town of Brookfield
Greg Genal had just finished swimming for two hours at the YMCA when his minivan slid off the road and into Poplar Creek.
Genal, 66, of New Berlin, avoided injury in the accident. He even joked about it while he warmed himself inside a town of Brookfield police squad, the left side of his gray jeans and green camouflage jacket soaked.
"I was just in the water," Genal said, laughing about his morning swim at the YMCA in Wauwatosa.
Genal was driving south on Barker Road near Davidson Road when his white Chrysler minivan skidded and slid down and through a ditch, town of Brookfield police Sgt. Brian Ball said. Ball said the accident could be blamed on the snowy road. Only a black, chain-link fence running down the embankment next to the creek kept the minivan from rolling over, he said.
"Luck was definitely on his side today," Ball said.
Genal drives a modified minivan, controlling the accelerator and brakes with his hands since he cannot use his legs. "The MS (multiple sclerosis) is the reason I canít walk," Genal said.
"MS didnít cause that accident," he said. "It was the snow and the conditions."
Genal, a retired gym teacher, let the minivan take him where it wanted to go once the skidding started, he said. "I didnít panic and I didnít think anything," Genal said.
When the van stopped, half-covered by the creekís cloudy, brown water, Genal slid from the driverís seat to the passengerís side. He said he was not wearing his seat belt.
"That was a little bit on the frightening side," Genal said. "I could feel (the water) getting higher on my seat."
Rescue workers pulled him out before too long, and Genal refused to go to a hospital, saying he felt fine. "Today happened for a reason," he said.
"Iím not down about it."
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