Driver, 32, killed in New Year’s Eve crash on Interstate 696

By: Sarah Wojcik | Royal Oak Review | Published January 4, 2018

ROYAL OAK — At approximately 11:55 p.m. Dec. 31, a fatal crash involving a 2018 Jeep Compass and a 2005 Ford Ranger occurred on eastbound Interstate 696 at Bermuda Street.

According to the Michigan State Police, witnesses observed the Compass driving erratically. The vehicle crashed into the left median wall at Bermuda Avenue and came to rest in the left and center lanes of the highway, police said.

First Lt. Michael Shaw, of the MSP, said a vehicle with a couple of “good Samaritans” stopped to block the lanes and assist the Compass driver, according to police, when they saw another vehicle in the left lane not stopping.

While the good Samaritans jumped over the median wall, the driver of the Compass, a 32-year-old woman from Livonia, stepped out from behind the Compass and was hit by the Ranger, which was driven by a 22-year-old man from Oakland Township.

The woman was killed instantly, police said.

Police said the driver of the Ranger stopped and was cooperative with the investigation.

Alcohol and/or drugs appear to be a factor, according to the Michigan State Police, and they said the investigation is continuing, pending the Oakland County Medical Examiner’s report on the driver of the Compass and blood test results on the driver of the Ranger. Shaw said both results normally take six to eight weeks.

There were no other injuries, police said.

Shaw advised that motorists should just stay inside their vehicles with their seatbelts fastened and call 911 if they are involved in a traffic crash.

“If you see a crash, the best thing is to keep going,” he said. “Don’t stop or try to block traffic or do anything as far as that goes. The majority of the time, the persons who get struck and killed are those who are trying to help.”

He said police are seeing an uptick in traffic crashes involving pedestrians because of distracted driving and the desire to share what they are seeing on social media.

“What you’re looking at is where your car is going to go,” Shaw said. “A lot of people talk about our job being dangerous. I can tell you most of us are more worried about being run over on the side of the road than shot in the line of duty. … Everybody has got to pay more attention.”