A view toward the traffic light at the shopping plaza on Dequindre Road south of 12 Mile Road in Madison Heights, near where the fatal hit-and-run incident occurred Sept. 13.

A view toward the traffic light at the shopping plaza on Dequindre Road south of 12 Mile Road in Madison Heights, near where the fatal hit-and-run incident occurred Sept. 13.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

Two pedestrians struck by vehicles in Madison Heights

One injured, one dead after being hit in roadway

By: Andy Kozlowski | Madison-Park News | Published September 28, 2023


MADISON HEIGHTS — In back-to-back incidents, two pedestrians were struck by motorists in Madison Heights, killing one and sending the other to the hospital.

The first occurred shortly before 10 p.m. Sept. 13, on Dequindre Road south of 12 Mile Road. Police responded to an injury accident and found Thomas Kiogima., Jr., 40, of Clinton Township, unresponsive in the roadway.

He had been struck by a vehicle, described as a white Chevy Tahoe, which had fled the scene. Kiogima was transported to Ascension Hospital where he was pronounced deceased.

The next day, Sept. 14, police responded to another injury accident at 7:35 a.m. A teenage girl, 13, had been struck by a vehicle while using a crosswalk at 12 Mile Road and Milton Avenue.

The driver, 31, remained at the scene and cooperated with the investigation. Alcohol does not appear to have been involved. The driver was released pending further investigation.

Madison Heights Police Lt. David Koehler said the teenage girl is in stable condition.

“She’s progressing in her recovery, but it’s going to be a long way,” Koehler said.

As for the hit-and-run incident that killed Kiogima, police have since arrested a suspect with the assistance of the Warren Police Department.

Raiyan Chowdhury, 32, of Warren, was arraigned in Madison Heights 43rd District Court on Sept. 16. He is charged with failure to stop at the scene of an accident resulting in serious impairment or death — a felony punishable by up to five years in prison, and/or a fine of up to $5,000 — and tampering with evidence, punishable by up to four years in prison and/or a $5,000 fine. He was given a $10,000 bond.

Todd Perkins, the attorney for Chowdhury, did not return requests for comment by press time.

According to a statement issued by Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald, the suspect was traveling southbound on Dequindre Road the night of Sept. 13 when he struck the victim and dragged him for a brief period down the road.

“The law is very clear: It doesn’t matter who is at fault in a crash. If you are involved, you are required to report it right away,” McDonald said in her statement. “Running someone over and then driving away is a felony, and we will hold the defendant accountable.”

“At this point, we don’t know exactly where (Kiogima) was walking in the road when he was struck by the vehicle,” Koehler said. “We’re still investigating, locating video evidence and putting together materials showing us that. If anyone was there and saw something, please call us.”

The phone number for the Madison Heights Police Department is (248) 585-2100.


Police remind drivers about new state law
While the circumstances surrounding the recent crashes involving pedestrians are still under investigation, Koehler said residents should remember that a new state law that went into effect June 30 makes it illegal to use a cellphone with your hands while operating a vehicle. Previously, the state had barred motorists from texting while driving. The new law bans other activities as well, such as browsing social media and watching or recording videos. If an officer sees you holding a phone while driving, even while idling at a red light, it could lead to tickets and fines.

The state is encouraging the use of voice-operated, hands-free technology for making and taking calls and texts while driving. There are also accessories that use clips, suction cups and other attachments to mount phones inside vehicles, so that they can be used without being held.

The concept is nothing new to Madison Heights, which had already implemented an ordinance in 2022 that closely mirrors the new state law. In addition to banning the hands-on use of electronics while operating a vehicle, Madison Heights also bans other activities while behind the wheel, such as eating, reading, writing, grooming, and interacting with pets or unsecured cargo.

Michigan had more than 16,500 distracted driving-related crashes in 2021. The state has seen a reduction in distracting driving deaths since adopting the strategic highway safety plan in 2019, which is a trend the state hopes to see continue with the new law. The goal is for the state to see zero traffic deaths by 2050.

“It’s best to not use any devices while driving,” Koehler said. “Stay off any electronic devices, and be aware of your surroundings and what’s coming up. Maintain your distance, watch your speed, and take into account things like the weather — if it’s raining, or snowy, or you’re driving into the sun and can’t see well — and also the time of day, like if it’s school hours and people are walking on foot. During times like those, you have to be even more cautious.”