Father, daughter die from injures after crash, while son survives

By: Kara Szymanski | Shelby - Utica News | Published January 25, 2021

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SHELBY TOWNSHIP — A crash involving a commercial vehicle and a pickup truck Jan. 19 at the intersection of 21 Mile Road and Van Dyke Avenue claimed the lives of a father and daughter.

At approximately 6:15 p.m., the Shelby Township Police Department and Fire Department were dispatched to the intersection for an injury accident involving two vehicles, one of which was on fire. Officers arrived to find that a Ram truck, which had been occupied by a 45-year-old Macomb Township resident and his two children, was fully engulfed in flames, and a commercial tree trimming truck, driven by a 28-year-old Grand Rapids man, had collided with the Ram in the intersection.

Officers rendered first aid to all victims on scene and turned over their care to Shelby Township Fire Department personnel. The driver, along with his two children, was transported to a local hospital with serious injuries.

The driver of the Ram and his daughter, 12, both died from their injuries and were pronounced deceased by hospital personnel. The second child passenger reportedly was still being treated for serious injuries Jan 20, but according to police, the 12-year-old boy has since been released from the hospital.

The driver of the commercial vehicle was uninjured. Detectives interviewed him at the scene, and he was released pending the outcome of the investigation, which is ongoing.

Shelby Township Police Sgt. Mark Benedettini said that there were some good Samaritans who stopped and helped right after the crash.

“We are speaking with several people who stopped at the scene. Some witnesses rendered aid and pulled the driver and two kids out of the truck before it burst into flames,” said Benedettini.

According to police, their initial investigation revealed that the Ram was northbound on Van Dyke and turning left onto 21 Mile Road. The commercial truck was southbound on Van Dyke and traveling through the intersection at 21 Mile when the head-on collision occurred.

As part of the investigation, police announced that the 21 Mile and Van Dyke intersection would be shut down for a brief time at approximately 10:15 a.m. Jan. 20 to continue with the investigation from Jan 19. Residents were asked to avoid the area until the investigation could be completed. Police wrapped up the investigation at the intersection at 11 a.m.

Benedettini said that the department is working to figure out the details of the crash.

“We are still in the early investigation process of determining speed. Our reconstructionist is attempting to get a speed for both vehicles, but at this point, it’s too early to know how fast either vehicle was traveling,” said Benedettini.

He said they are looking into video surveillance around the area of the crash.

“We are still trying to determine who is at fault in this accident. We believe one of the vehicles ran a red light, but at this point, we don’t know for sure which one. We are attempting to get video from local businesses in the area that might have captured the accident,” said Benedettini.

Anyone who might have witnessed the crash is asked to contact Shelby Township Police Department Traffic Services Bureau Sgt. Joseph Wojcik at  (586) 731-2121, ext. 455.