Investigation continues into fatal I-94 crash

By: Kristyne E. Demske | St. Clair Shores Sentinel | Published March 15, 2019

Shutterstock image


ST. CLAIR SHORES — Michigan State Police are continuing the investigation into a crash that killed a 55-year-old Detroit woman March 7.

First Lt. Michael Shaw said March 12 that Michigan State Police hasn’t yet finished its investigation and is waiting for the results of the woman’s autopsy before deciding whether to pursue any charges against the at-fault driver.

“Once that’s done and we determine a cause, that’s when we will (potentially) send it to the (Macomb County) Prosecutor’s Office for review,” he said, explaining that obtaining the results of the autopsy could take up to six weeks, depending on the medical examiner’s office. “Our portion of the investigation will be wrapped up by the end of next week, and then we just have to wait for those results.”

Michigan State Police troopers were called to Interstate 94, near 10 Mile Road, in St. Clair Shores at around 1:30 p.m. March 7 for a rolled-over semitrailer. As traffic slowed in the area on the westbound side of the freeway, the 31-year-old driver of the 2006 Peterbilt semi allegedly could not stop in time and rear-ended a Ford Taurus with a 55-year-old Detroit woman inside. The woman died in the crash. The semi then rolled over, landing on a Chrysler vehicle and a Cadillac SUV, according to the MSP Metro Detroit Twitter page.

St. Clair Shores Fire Chief James Piper said that his department responded with two engines and a quint, as well as two ambulances, one of which returned to transport a second patient. Other personnel also responded with a rescue truck.

Piper said that a heavy rescue tow truck driver helped the department extract the 19-year-old Macomb Township woman in the Chrysler, which was pinned underneath the semi.

“We used our trucks to anchor the underside of the trailer. On the other side of the truck, that’s where we had the crew using lifters and cribbing ... because the trailer was at about a good 75, 80 degrees. It was crushing that one vehicle, the blue Chrysler,” Piper explained.

He said that the crews acted very quickly in extracting the woman, who only sustained minor injuries.

“That truck was filled with a giant industrial boiler. The only thing keeping it from going entirely on its side was this lady’s car,” he said.

Piper said that they had to shore up the truck so that they could create enough space to get extrication equipment in to cut open the woman’s car and rescue her.

Piper said that when crews arrived from the east, they first saw the “tire side of the semi, which is not what you want to see on the freeway.” Medical personnel quickly realized that the woman in the Ford had died on impact.

The driver of the semi and the 66-year-old Grosse Pointe Woods man driving the Cadillac involved in the accident were able to get themselves out of their vehicles with just minor injuries.

Piper said that he was amazed at how quickly fire officials were able to extricate the 19-year-old woman pinned inside the Chrysler. They first received the call about the accident at 1:10 p.m. and left the scene with the woman at 1:54 p.m.

“It was amazingly fast for as difficult as it was,” Piper said.

Michigan State Police troopers and crash reconstructionists continued to examine the evidence from the vehicles at press time.