Royal Oak man dies in 4-vehicle crash in Pleasant Ridge

Police suspect woman who caused crash was driving drunk

By: Mike Koury | Woodward Talk | Published September 8, 2020

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PLEASANT RIDGE — A 30-year-old Royal Oak man died Aug. 19 after a woman crashed into the back of his Jeep Cherokee while he was stopped at a red light in Pleasant Ridge.

Local authorities responded to the eastbound Interstate 696 service drive on 10 Mile Road after a multiple vehicle crash was reported at 6:03 p.m. Aug. 19.

Pleasant Ridge Police Chief Kevin Nowak stated that a Mercedes driven by a 51-year-old Huntington Woods woman failed to stop for stopped traffic at a red light and hit the Jeep occupied by Benjamin Jones.

“His Jeep was pushed into a Chevy Tahoe, which was in front of him, and that was pushed into a Dodge Charger that was in front of the Tahoe that were all stopped at the red light,” Nowak said.

In describing the scene, Nowak said the four vehicles were pushed into every lane on the service drive, blocking most of the traffic. All of the vehicles involved were said to have suffered damage, with several of them having to be towed.

“The victim’s car was smoking … with the possibility of catching on fire,” he said. “They removed him from the vehicle to treat him medically.”

The officers who recovered Jones from the vehicle began performing lifesaving measures, including CPR, said Nowak. He was taken by members of the Ferndale Fire Department to Royal Oak Beaumont Hospital, where he was pronounced dead later that same day.

Nowak stated that drunken driving is suspected on the part of the Huntington Woods woman. As of Sept. 1, charges had been sent to the Oakland County Prosecutor’s Office for authorization. Nowak also stated that investigators are waiting to get results from the Michigan State Police’s fatal crash unit to determine the speed at which the woman struck Jones’ vehicle.

“I’d say it was, based on what we saw, in excess of the posted speed limit,” Nowak said.

Jones was known as the head varsity football coach at Cranbrook-Kingswood, a private school located in Bloomfield Hills. Cranbrook Schools said in a statement that its community is deeply saddened by Jones’ sudden passing.

“Ben was highly respected and a trusted mentor to many,” the statement reads. “His sudden loss is tragic and difficult for the entire school community, but particularly so for the young men on his team and his colleagues. Cranbrook extends its deepest condolences to Ben’s family and friends, along with the assurance that he will be deeply missed here both on and off the field.”

Staff Writer Jacob Herbert contributed to this report.