Two Execs From Energy BBDO, One From Leo Burnett Are Killed in Milwaukee Hit-and-Run

The three friends had worked together in account management in Chicago

Headshot of Patrick Coffee

Three Chicago advertising professionals who met and became friends at Energy BBDO died early Sunday in a hit-and-run accident in Milwuakee. The story was first reported by the Chicago Tribune this morning.

Ashley Sawatzke, 30, Amy Taylor, 32, and Lindsey Cohen, 35, were riding together in a Ford Fusion driven by an Uber contractor when a Lexus SUV ran a red light while speeding in a 30 mph zone and struck their car, the Tribune said. Sawatzke and Taylor died at the scene. Cohen passed away at an area hospital. The Uber driver, 41-year old Tim Snyder, is currently receiving treatment for injuries that are not considered life-threatening.

The three women met while working together in the account department of Energy BBDO. Sawatzke left the agency over the summer to accept an account supervisor position at nearby Leo Burnett, where she worked on P&G's Always.

"We are absolutely devastated by the loss of these three incredible, exuberant young women who were taken from us far too soon," Energy BBDO president and CEO Tonise Paul said in a statement. "Our thoughts and prayers are with their families and loved ones at this tragic moment. The grief of their absence is felt deeply across our Energy BBDO family." 

"We are deeply saddened by the tragic news of Ashley Sawatzke's passing," Leo Burnett said in a statement. "She was a valued and loved member of the Leo Burnett family. Our thoughts and prayers are with her friends and family at this time." 

According to the Tribune, two men ran from the Lexus after it collided with the car carrying the three women. Milwaukee Police Department Sgt. Tim Gauerke told the paper that the department had sought both suspects for questioning, and that the alleged driver, described only as "a 23-year old man" who fled the scene on Sunday morning, turned himself in to police on Monday afternoon.

@PatrickCoffee Patrick Coffee is a senior editor for Adweek.