Driver injured in multi-car crash on Christmas Day

By: Andy Kozlowski | Madison - Park News | Published January 10, 2018

MADISON HEIGHTS — The holidays took a disastrous turn for several motorists traveling on Interstate 696 on Christmas morning, when multiple cars spun out of control and crashed, and a driver standing outside was pinned between them.

Troopers from the Michigan State Police Metro North Post responded to the three crashes on westbound I-696 and Dequindre Road in Madison Heights around 10:50 a.m. on Dec. 25.

The first crash involved a 2004 Chevy Impala that lost control and struck the median wall before facing the wrong way on the left fog line, which is the white line that marks the legally drivable portion of the road. 

The driver of the second vehicle, a 2006 Dodge van, attempted to avoid the first crash but still struck the car, coming to rest on the right shoulder. The driver of the second vehicle exited his vehicle and stood behind his van, retrieving items from the rear cargo area.

Then a third vehicle, a 2007 Honda Accord, overcorrected to avoid the first two crashes and lost control, hitting a fourth vehicle, a 2013 Chrysler van. 

The impact caused the Chrysler van to lose control, spinning backward, pinning the driver of the Dodge van between two vehicles. 

The pinned driver was transported to a local hospital with critical injuries. No other injuries were reported during the crashes. The freeway was closed for about two hours for the investigation. The Chrysler van was towed from the scene. 

At press time, the status of the pinned driver was unclear. 

Michigan State Police Lt. Michael Shaw said drivers must exercise extreme caution following a crash on the highway. 

“While not illegal, we recommend drivers stay in their vehicles. We also recommend that witnesses continue on and call 911 and not get out of their vehicles either,” Shaw said. “Michigan law requires motorists to move their vehicles from the travel lanes if they can. If not, the safest place to be is inside of the vehicle with your seat belt on.”

He emphasized that people need to take it slow when driving in winter weather.

“Increase your following distance from the car in front of you, and also make sure you have enough room to take evasive action if someone loses control of their car,” Shaw said. “Do not get distracted. Preset your radio and GPS before leaving for your destination. And leave the phone alone!”