Teen fatally injured after rolling car near Lakeside Mall

By: Cortney Casey | Sterling Heights Sentry | Published August 28, 2012


Sterling Heights police are still seeking witnesses in a rollover accident near Lakeside Mall that killed a local teenager earlier this month.

According to police, the incident occurred at around 5:17 a.m. Aug. 4, while the 18-year-old motorist — later identified as Sterling Heights resident Taylor Nitzh — was “driving in a reckless manner” northbound on Lakeside Circle, the road that rings the mall, where the speed limit is 30 mph.

Police indicated Nitzh was traveling “at a high rate of speed” when she lost control and slid into a curb near the Steak ‘n Shake, just east of the mall, causing her Mitsubishi Galant to roll over repeatedly across the restaurant’s parking lot.

At some point during the roll, Nitzh was ejected from the vehicle, and both she and the Galant — which ultimately struck a legally parked, unoccupied Ford Explorer — ended up on the north end of the lot.

Paramedics from the Sterling Heights Fire Department and Universal Ambulance rendered medical treatment on the scene before transporting Nitzh to the hospital, where, Lt. Luke Riley of the Sterling Heights Police Department said, she died from her injuries Aug. 5.

Riley said it hasn’t been confirmed how fast Nitzh was driving at the time, but the Galant left “in excess of 70 feet of skid marks” on the roadway. He said he did not believe Nitzh, who was alone in her vehicle, had been wearing a seatbelt.

Police indicated that alcohol and drugs were believed to be factors in the crash, though Riley said investigators were still awaiting toxicology results as of mid-August.

In the meantime, they’re piecing together the events leading up to the crash.

“There are some leads that we’re following up regarding what she was doing prior to that, but nothing along those lines is available for release,” said Riley.

To accommodate the accident investigation, Lakeside Circle was closed between Waterbury and Southcove for more than five hours, and the Steak ‘n Shake parking lot was shut down for more than seven hours.

A manager at the Steak ‘n Shake indicated she was not permitted to comment on the incident, including whether anyone was in the restaurant at the time or saw what happened.

According to the company’s website, the Lakeside location is open round-the-clock on weekends, from 10 a.m. Friday until 2 a.m. Monday. But as of press time, Riley said police had yet to find anyone who witnessed the accident.

Anyone with information on the crash or the circumstances leading up to it is asked to contact the Sterling Heights Police Department’s traffic safety bureau at (586) 446-2920.