Death of teen in crash brings holiday sorrow

Loss of Grafton High senior, Belgium resident in single-vehicle accident leaves two communities grieving

STUDENTS LEFT FLOWERS in the Grafton High School parking place of Ben Schrap, who died in a Thursday, Dec. 19, accident in the Town of Belgium. A friend of Schrap said the parking place will remain empty for the rest of the school year in memory of the 17-year-old. Friends also placed a cross near the site of the accident in the Town of Belgium. Photos by Sam Arendt
Ozaukee Press staff

The holiday break is filled with heavy hearts in two communities after a teenager was killed in a one-vehicle accident last week in the Town of Belgium.

Ben Schrap, 17, who lived in the Village of Belgium but attended Grafton High School, will be remembered for being a good friend.

“Friends came first, then it was family. Then school. He always made sure that friends had someone to talk to even though he was hurting,” Grafton High School junior Amir Spangler said. “He always made time for his friends, and that’s what drew me in to him. He’s like an older brother to me.”

According to an Ozaukee County Sheriff’s Office report, Schrap was driving his 1999 GMC Sierra pickup truck south on Highway KW just north of Dixie Road at a high rate of speed Thursday, Dec. 19, when the truck left the roadway, went over a raised bank of the railroad tracks and struck a tree line on the east side of the road before landing on its roof. Schrap was ejected and pronounced dead at the scene before 9 a.m. The accident remains under investigation.

Schrap was a senior at Grafton High. He attended Cedar Grove-Belgium High School last year.

Spangler stood near parking spot 122, Shrap’s former space, at Grafton High last Friday night after the Black Hawks beat Port Washington in boys’ basketball. The spot was filled with flowers.

The parking place will remain empty for the rest of the school year, Spangler said.

“This is just one of the many things we can do to keep his memory alive,” he said. A space will also be reserved for Schrap at graduation, he said.

Spangler met Schrap in automotives class and enjoyed talking about hunting, fishing and the outdoors.

“That’s what we loved,” Spangler said. “He was a really quiet kid but once you got to know him you couldn’t get him to stop talking.”

On Thursday night, Spangler and about 200 people met at the Port Washington Park and Ride and did a memorial ride to the place Schrap died and placed a wooden cross there.

“People did burnouts the whole way down the street and said a couple of prayers,” Spangler said. “Now he’s looking down on us.”

Schrap’s friends had many nicknames for him, including Ben, Benji, Benny-ha-ha, Ben-10 and Big Country. He was a member of St. Mark’s Lutheran Church in Belgium, and his love for fishing led to his first job as a first mate on a charter boat in Port Washington.

The Black Hawks’ victory last Friday over Port Washington was significant, Spangler, the team’s manager, said.

“That win tonight was for him. We did that for him,” he said. “It’s what the boys promised, and the boys came through.”

Grafton High sent a letter to parents last Thursday informing them of Schrap’s death and that counselors would be available.

“Ben was a valued member of the GHS student body and will be missed by his friends and teachers,” Principal Scott Mantei said in an email to the Press.

Schrap is survived by his parents, two older brothers and an older sister.

A funeral will be held at 6 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 26, at St. Paul Lutheran Church, Grafton. Visitation will be at the church from 3 to 6 p.m. Thursday.

A fund in Schrap’s name has been established at Port Washington State Bank. Donations may be made at any branch.

A gofundme page has also been set up to help the family pay for a memorial service. The link is:

An obituary for Schrap can be found on page 12B.




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Ozaukee Press

Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

125 E. Main St.
Port Washington, WI 53074
(262) 284-3494


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