Crash on Interstate 94 in Harper Woods kills 4 people

Child who was in car seat survives

By: Brendan Losinski | Advertiser Times | Published November 13, 2017

File photo

A driver and three passengers are dead after a crash at approximately 1:05 a.m. Nov. 13 on Interstate 94 near Eight Mile Road in Harper Woods.

The Michigan State Police said a 2006 Buick SUV was travelling in the left lane of eastbound I-94 at a high rate of speed and passing other traffic when the driver lost control, crossed three lanes of traffic and struck the embankment below the Eight Mile Road overpass.

“So far it looks like speed was a factor. It looked as though they were proceeding at a high rate of speed prior to the crash occurring. There are no signs of alcohol at this time,” said Lt. Mike Shaw, of the Michigan State Police. “We’re looking into (suspicions of driving over the speed limit). ... Witnesses saw them prior to the crash, but there were no witnesses to the actual crash.”

The vehicle contained four adults, all of whom were killed instantly in the crash, according to Michigan State Police. Michigan State Police identified them as 20-year-old Doreal Rodgers, of Detroit, who was driving; 20-year-old Alesia Maddox, of Detroit, who was sitting in the passenger seat; her brother, 18-year-old Armonie Maddox, of Detroit, who was sitting behind the driver’s seat; and 18-year-old Ervin Johnson, of Eastpointe, who was sitting behind the passenger seat.

A 1-year-old child, the son of Alesia Maddox, also was in the vehicle and suffered what police said were minor injuries. The child was in a car seat at the time of the incident, while none of the other victims were wearing seatbelts, according to Michigan State Police.

MSP officials stressed that seat belt use might make a difference in a crash.

“You can never tell who would have lived and who wouldn’t have due to seat belts, but you definitely stand a far better chance of survival with a seat belt,” said Shaw. “Two of the victims were actually ejected from the vehicle. The safest place during an accident is belted in. The child wasn’t even in a proper car seat, but one meant for older children. Luckily, that provided enough protection to keep the child safe.”

The child was hospitalized but reportedly released the same day. He is now in the care of family members, Shaw said.

MSP’s Metro North Post responded to the crash, and the Traffic Crash Reconstruction Unit will investigate the incident. Although their initial priority was identification of the victims and notifying their families — as well as ensuring the safety of the child involved in the crash — an investigation into the cause of the matter is underway.

“Now that we’ve notified everyone, we will start from the beginning, and examining the scene and looking at the vehicle, and examining the scene in the daylight,” said Shaw. “Since it’s a one-vehicle crash, there will be no prosecution, so our focus is seeing how we can prevent future crashes in that area. We’ve done numerous traffic enforcement efforts in that area, so we want to look at how to better enforce the law and keep people safe.”