The art installation as seen shortly after its unveiling.

The art installation as seen shortly after its unveiling.

File photo by Patricia O'Blenes

Macomb Township woman dies in crash with Southfield art installation

By: Kathryn Pentiuk | Southfield Sun | Published July 31, 2023


SOUTHFIELD — A woman died in a traffic crash involving a recently installed obelisk July 29.

Police responded to the single-car crash at 11 Mile Road and Arlington Drive, where the road splits in two, at 10:03 p.m.

A 24-year-old woman from Macomb Township struck the recently installed 18-foot-tall obelisk in the center median.

The woman, who was the only person in the vehicle, was pronounced dead at a local hospital due to the impact of the crash. The investigation is still underway, and Southfield police are unsure whether alcohol or speed were factors. Police said the driver went directly into the median, and there are no tread markings to determine the speed at which she struck the art installation.

According to the Southfield Community Relations Director, Michael Manion, the city has not yet decided on the repair or removal of the obelisk.

The obelisk, a structure of handmade tiles mounted on a 4-foot base, was unveiled June 12 by the Southfield Public Arts Commission as the city’s 25th installation, presented by the Friends of Southfield Public Arts, a nonprofit dedicated to raising funds to support the efforts of the Southfield Public Arts Commission.

The piece, crafted by renowned Detroit artist Hubert Massey, depicts Southfield’s diverse history, representing the Potawatomi tribe, whose name “Bodéwadmik” translates to “Keepers of the Fire” in the Ojibwe language; and the Mary Thompson farmhouse; as well as other cultural symbols that represent the city.