Willis family lost 6 in crash that led to license for bribes scandal

December 16, 2003 10:00:00 PM PST
Almost ten years ago, a truck plowed into the Willis family van, killing six children near Milwaukee. A lawsuit filed after the fiery crash led to the license for bribes scandal.

When the six children of Scott and Janet Willis died in 1994, ABC7 News learned that the truck driver involved in the crash had paid a bribe to get his license. That case unravled into Operation Safe Road.

"These charges pretty much lay out the cesspool of corruption that existed while Mr. Ryan was secretary of state as well as governor," said Joe Power, Willis family attorney.

As for the Willis family, members are not speaking publicly about the indictment. However, almost three years ago, Reverend Willis spoke with ABC 7 News.

"I do believe there is enough evidence to show that the governor had knowledge of this and that he hid the knowledge," said Rev. Scott Willis, father of victims.

Tonight, the Willis family issued a statement: "We began our lawsuit to simply find answers to our questions. Little did we know where that would lead. We understand that a person is innocent until proven guilty. However we are very grateful to have come to this point."

"Some people suggested it's hard to indict someone right before Christmas, but I'd remind people that this is coming upon the 10th Christmas that the Willis family are having to deal with, without their six children," said Power.