Eastpointe man dies after van goes into Sterling Heights ditch

By: Eric Czarnik | Sterling Heights Sentry | Published July 16, 2013

A medical situation might have played a role in a Sterling Heights vehicle accident that preluded the death of an Eastpointe man, according to police.

Police said the accident happened at around 2 a.m. July 16 along Metropolitan Parkway, west of Schoenherr Road. The 51-year-old driver’s Chevrolet Astro van reportedly ended up into a ditch.

When rescue workers arrived at the scene they discovered that the driver was not responding, police said. The victim was declared dead after the rescue workers took him to a local hospital.

Police said two additional occupants from Eastpointe had been inside the van: a 20-year-old and a 21-year-old. One passenger escaped harm, but the other, who had been sitting in a lawn chair located in the van’s cargo section, suffered minor injuries .

According to police, the driver seemed to lose control of the van, and “some form of medical episode” might have been responsible. Sterling Heights Police Lt. Kevin Reese explained that police have not reached a final conclusion on what kind of condition might have played a role.

“It probably won’t be determined until after the autopsy,” he said.

Reese said officers don’t believe that the driver had been drunk during the accident, adding that “we believe that there was no alcohol involved.” But he pointed out that passengers should always be secured properly with a seat belt while sitting in any vehicle — even if they’re in the backseat.

At this point, Reese said he didn’t have any information on how fast the van was traveling before it entered the ditch, explaining that the investigation is still ongoing.

“We’re looking for witnesses of the accident,” he said.

Anyone who has more information about this incident may contact the Sterling Heights Police Department at (586) 446-2800.