Police: Drunken driver responsible in fatal crash

By: Nick Mordowanec, Kevin Bunch | C&G Newspapers | Published March 16, 2016

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FRASER — Police believe alcohol was involved in a March 12 fatal car accident.

The incident took place around 1:40 a.m. on Groesbeck Highway, south of 14 Mile Road.

Kyle Kumbo, 24, was reportedly driving his 2004 Buick SUV on northbound Groesbeck, with his girlfriend sitting in the passenger seat. Fraser Lt. Mike Pettyes said a 1996 Lincoln Mark VIII with four people was stopped at a red light in the middle through lane.

Pettyes said the Buick was traveling at a rate estimated to be between 45 and 50 miles per hour. Kumbo allegedly rammed into the back of the Lincoln.

Julius Jones, 18, who was sitting in the backseat, died instantly in the crash from what police believe to be spinal or neck-related injuries.

The other backseat passenger is currently in critical condition at McLaren Macomb Hospital. Pettyes said he has head trauma and possible bleeding of the brain.

The front passenger was able to remove himself from the vehicle and is OK. The driver is said to be in stable condition.

Jones was a senior at Roseville High School. Another of the passengers is a current Roseville student, while the other passengers include a Clintondale Community Schools student and a former Roseville student.

Kumbo and his girlfriend sustained no injuries. The front end of the Buick was heavily damaged, but the Lincoln was much worse.

“The car was absolutely — it was disturbing to see,” Pettyes said.

Pettyes said that Kumbo and his girlfriend were driving home from the bar. Alcohol is believed to be the cause of the accident, as both Kumbo and his girlfriend were intoxicated.

Kumbo’s blood alcohol content level was .13 at the scene of the accident.

“It is rare,” Pettyes said. “We had a double fatal (accident) a month ago, a few hundred yards away. It was unrelated. Both of these (accidents) have to do with irresponsible drivers.”

Surveillance video from local businesses captured the accident, though no witnesses saw it in real time. Black box information from the vehicle is being looked at as part of the ongoing investigation.

Pettyes said there were only a few vehicles on the roadway during that time, and there was indication Kumbo never touched his brakes.

“(Those in the Lincoln) didn’t see (Kumbo) coming. The next thing they know a car just hit them from behind,” Pettyes said. “It took them all by surprise.”

Kumbo was arraigned March 14 at 39th District Court on charges of drunken driving causing death, which is punishable by up to 15 years in prison. He is out on bail having been released from the Macomb County Jail after posting an interim bond of $100,000 cash or surety.

Pettyes said the incident is still being investigated, and more charges could come into play pending the investigation.

In a Facebook post on the Roseville Community Schools page, the district announced plans to support all the “students and staff” needing help in the coming days and weeks.

Roseville High School Principal Pete Hedemark said the school is collecting donations for Jones’ family, and is producing T-shirts and bracelets in honor of the students in the accident as another fundraising effort. The bracelets include the message “alcohol and gasoline don’t mix” along with the victims’ initials.

“The kids are trying to get a positive message out there and make people stop and think, to change their behavior,” Hedemark said.

Jones’ funeral viewing was set for 2 to 9 p.m. March 20 at Kaul Funeral Home in Roseville. Hedemark said on March 16 the school intends on having a presence there throughout the day.

Kumbo is due back in 39th District Court at 8:15 a.m. on March 30 for a probable cause conference. No attorney information for him was available at press time.