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Posted on Tue, Jun 25, 2013 : 5:58 a.m.

Chief says rescuers still bothered by fatal U.S. 23 rollover a year later: 'It sticks with you'

By Kyle Feldscher

Michigan State Police troopers continue to investigate the June 2012 rollover on U.S.-23 that killed two children and severely injured five other occupantsof an SUV, officials said this week.

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Police are still investigating this "exceptionally violent" crash that killed two children.

The crash closed the highway for hours as first responders and bystanders struggled to save all of the occupants in the Ford Expedition, a rescue effort that still weighs on some of the participants.

Within hours of the incident, two of the six children in the vehicle had died and police were launching the still-open investigation into what caused the rollover.

Sgt. Mark Thompson said Monday investigators are waiting on “forensic lab results” on the vehicle that troopers believe caused the rollover crash that killed 11-year-old Ashley Siegel and 14-year-old Jordan Siegel on June 22, 2012.

A woman turned a Honda Odyssey over to state police troopers in July 2012 and began working with investigators through an attorney. However, that was one of the last updates in the investigation from troopers.

Just before 3 p.m. on June 22, 2012, Dawn Siegel was driving south on U.S. 23, south of Michigan Avenue, in a 1999 Ford Expedition. There were six children inside — four of Siegel’s children and her two stepchildren, Ashley and Jordan. According to police, the Odyssey moved into the lane already occupied by the Expedition.

The Expedition swerved to avoid the Odyssey and rolled over several times before coming to rest on its roof in the median. Both Ashley and Jordan died at the scene of the crash. They were students at Royal Oak Middle School. has not been able to reach the family for comment.

Troopers called the crash “exceptionally violent.” Police at the time said that an accident reconstructionist was not able to confirm actual contact was made between the Odyssey and the Expedition, but witnesses told police the vehicles did, in fact, collide.

Pittsfield Township Fire Department Chief Sean Gleason said two of his newer firefighters were the first on the scene that day. What they saw there still resonates with them today.

Three people were outside of the Expedition by the time the firefighters got on scene. A bystander was performing CPR on one of the children. The firefighters had to cut another child out of the Expedition.

“It sticks in their minds a lot,” Gleason said. “Those are the worst calls, involving kids.”

After the crash, Gleason said a critical incident stress debriefing followed — a regular coping exercise for first responders who deal with a particularly tragic incident. He said the responding firefighters all went into a room with a counselor and simply talked about the incident, trying to work through their emotions.

The exercise is extremely helpful for those who go through it, he said.

“They did say it was good to talk about it,” Gleason said, recalling his own experiences after a crash about 12 years ago.

“I picked up one of the dead kids out of the car seat and my son was the same age and same size. It reminded me of picking up my son and it (the debriefing) helped me so much by getting it off my chest. That’s what these things are about. Most people, once they get it off their chest and they talk about it, they can start to move on.”

After the June 2012 crash, the driver of the Odyssey continued south on U.S. 23. It was 2½ weeks until a woman came forward through her attorney. The Odyssey was turned over to police for tests, officials confirmed on July 11, 2012.

To this point, no one has been arrested or charged in the case. The woman’s name was never released because she was not charged with a crime. Police would only call the woman a person of interest at the time the vehicle was turned over, and nothing has changed.

In the aftermath of the crash, police released two of about 15 calls made to 911 by passers-by reporting the crash. Officials said the public played a major role in assisting the Siegel family at the crash scene and assisting paramedics and investigators in the chaotic minutes after the rollover.

For those who responded to the crash, life moves on. However, that doesn’t make living with the memory of the crash any easier.

Gleason said there’s a few firefighters who responded to the scene that are still bothered by the crash.

“They can talk about it, but you can tell by the look on their face it sticks with them,” he said.

Kyle Feldscher covers cops and courts for He can be reached at or you can follow him on Twitter.



Tue, Jun 25, 2013 : 9:35 p.m.

I thought after they got the van and the person it was case closed? I guess not. I agree, wow, a year already.


Tue, Jun 25, 2013 : 5:23 p.m.

I'm so sorry for this family. :( It's inspiring that Ms. Siegel has found the strength to do positive work, such as scholarships, in her children's memories.


Tue, Jun 25, 2013 : 5:28 p.m.


Tue, Jun 25, 2013 : 3:55 p.m.

Thanks for the update, I know I was one of the people that asked a couple times about this accident. It was a tragic accident and I do hope justice, however long it takes, is served. Another commenter posted an interesting theory that the woman that turned the vehicle over may not have been the driver thus the 2.5 week delay. Expounding on that theory a young teenage inexperienced female driver "flees" from the accident scene. Tells her mother nothing of the accident and when questioned about the possible scratches on the bumper says that must have happened in a parking lot. 2.5 weeks go by and the young girl is clearly emotionally distraught and finally confesses to her mother what really happened. Mother turns over the vehicle. Just a theory.... I should be a hollywood screen writer. ;-)


Tue, Jun 25, 2013 : 7:30 p.m.

My thoughts exactly! Just because witnesses said it was a woman driving and then a woman turned in the car really means nothing. It could easily be two different women. People loan their cars to family and friends all the time and since the police either haven't proven or haven't released information regarding the two women being one in the same then we cannot call judgement on this woman.

Kirk Scott

Tue, Jun 25, 2013 : 2:26 p.m.

It has been a very hard road for the mother, but she is taking the life changing tragic event and making something positive from it. Truly inspirational story.


Tue, Jun 25, 2013 : 2:05 p.m.

Did there need to be contact between the vehicles to press charges? It seems like a cases of 'assault and battery" the assault is the verbage, movement or perceived threat and the battery is the contact. I believe you can be charged with assault even if there is no battery. In this case, the Ford tried to avoid a battery by a sudden steering maneuver, ran onto the shoulder and lost control. As I see it, it was an assault, therefore chargeable.

Joyce Williams

Tue, Jun 25, 2013 : 1:05 p.m.

Kyle, Thanks for the follow up.The HVA medics and dispatchers involved with this call also remember it. Scenes like this are especially hard to forget when children are severely injured or die. Our medics would also have been encouraged to attend a stress debriefing as well. Our thoughts go out to the families. Joyce Williams at HVA


Tue, Jun 25, 2013 : 12:55 p.m.

A year waiting for forensic evidence in a fatal crash. Not at all like the CSI Shows on TV where in an hour they have everything done and the suspect is on the way to prison. While science is good now, the wait times for results can be frustrating. I don't know what forensic evidence they are waiting for, I don't know much about what the current state of the investigation is. I do know I still think about the accident and the Siegel's regularly. Thank you for this follow up, please continue to follow up on this story. Someday there will be resolution (I hope) for everyone involved.


Tue, Jun 25, 2013 : 2:02 p.m.

Well we just had that incident with the lady in the forensic outright fabricating the results to make it look like she was doing a stellar job. I'm sure that couldn't have helped that industry at all. We always hear about how forensic labs are backed up all the time....sounds like a good business to go into maybe?

Silly Sally

Tue, Jun 25, 2013 : 12:42 p.m.

I still remember this awful accident and have wondered about the anguish that must be in this mother's mind, losing two children. How awful that it was a hit and run. It would be nice to know if the Odyessy struck the Expedition., and if so, where. If in he rear, where it is lighter, it can cause it to easily turn and roll over. But the Odyssey's driver would most likely have seen the Expedition and not have done this. More likely is that the Odyssey's driver turned into the lane of the Expedition and struck the front of the Expedition, where its heavy engine is located. The Expedition most likely would have stayed put and the the rear of the Odyssey would have moved. It does seem that the driver of rhe Expedition unfortuntely turned. But this is just speculation, and I could be completely wrong. It is very bad that the police labs take over a year, and have reeased nothing.

Brad PTA

Tue, Jun 25, 2013 : 3:50 p.m.

Sally, read the story again. The SUV swerved and that is when the vehicle rolled.

Craig Lounsbury

Tue, Jun 25, 2013 : 2:29 p.m.

I believe you meant "an error" ;)


Tue, Jun 25, 2013 : 1:26 p.m.

"It is very bad that the police labs take over a year, and have reeased nothing." Silly Sally made a error with his/her spelling!! Oh my sweet baby Jesus...

Silly Sally

Tue, Jun 25, 2013 : 12:34 p.m.

"Gleason said there's a few firefighters who responded ..." It should be "...there are few firefighters..." or "...there's one firefighter who..." or "there's a fighter who.." "Few" implies more than one while "a" implies just one.

Kyle Feldscher

Tue, Jun 25, 2013 : 12:21 p.m.

As Paula noted, this has been a crash that's stuck with a lot of us here in the community. I still get an email every other week or so - if not every week - asking me what's going on with this case and if anyone has been arrested. I know I still remember this tragic afternoon vividly. My thoughts are with the Siegel family.


Tue, Jun 25, 2013 : 12:08 p.m.

Thank you, Kyle. Just a note that article lists both June 22nd and June 23rd as the date of the accident.

Kyle Feldscher

Tue, Jun 25, 2013 : 12:22 p.m.

I'll clear that up, it was the 22nd.

Homeland Conspiracy

Tue, Jun 25, 2013 : noon

A wound will never heal if you keep picking at the scab


Tue, Jun 25, 2013 : 2 p.m.

Some wounds will NEVER heal my man. That's just a sad unfortunate fact of life. Those wounds will get better...but they never actually heal.


Tue, Jun 25, 2013 : 11:55 a.m.

It's very sad that here we are a year later and they still haven't completely the forensic analysis of the Odyssey. I was hoping we'd have more closure on this whole case but I guess not.

Ricardo Queso

Tue, Jun 25, 2013 : 11:43 a.m.

Two and a half weeks before coming forward after direct involvement is a fatal accident. What a display of courage and compassion for the families.


Tue, Jun 25, 2013 : 7:43 p.m.

If I remember correctly, there was every possibility that the person in the Odyssey did not (and may not have realized for weeks) that she/he had even been involved in a traffic incident at all.

Valerie Askew

Tue, Jun 25, 2013 : 11:13 a.m.

how frustrating that the woman who caused this tragedy has not been held accountable.

Honest Abe

Tue, Jun 25, 2013 : 6:53 p.m.

At this time, it it appears it was not her fault. It's normal for wanting someone to blame, however if charges have not been brought up by now, then it's unlikely they will be.


Tue, Jun 25, 2013 : 1:29 p.m.

I think what some people are missing is that nothing has been said regarding whether this woman has been proven as being the driver during the accident. Just because she turned in the vehicle doesn't mean she was the one driving. We don't know those circumstances and we don't know if the police have this information so it is too early to hold this woman accountable based on the information that we know. Just because she has a lawyer does not make her guilty. With all the hype around that accident at the time she probably knew that whoever came forward would immediately be investigated and probably assumed guilty so she may have just wanted to make sure things were done fairly, especially considering the possibility that she was not the person driving the vehicle at the time of the accident.


Tue, Jun 25, 2013 : 12:48 p.m.

I don't understand how the woman in the Odyssey was never charged with leaving the scene of an accident. Witnesses say the two cars collided. If she came forward a couple weeks later, she had to know she was involved. Is there any update as to the well-being of the surviving family now?

Hugh Giariola

Tue, Jun 25, 2013 : 12:28 p.m.

Valerie & EyeHeartA2, "A woman turned a Honda Odyssey over to state police troopers in July 2012 and began working with investigators through an attorney. However, that was one of the last updates in the investigation from troopers." I would say that there has been no charges filed and have seen no legal proceedings reported on as yet.


Tue, Jun 25, 2013 : 12:04 p.m.

There has not been information released as to the cause of this accident. Therefore it's not appropriate to assume who is to blame. The whole incident is tragic enough for everyone involved.


Tue, Jun 25, 2013 : noon

I must have missed the verdict. She was found guilty?

Paula Gardner

Tue, Jun 25, 2013 : 11:05 a.m.

We get regular questions about this crash and follow-up, so we know many readers were wondering what had happened. This rollover was heartbreaking at the time, and I can only imagine that this entire process of evidence-gathering just adds to the pain for everyone involved, from the family to investigators and the woman who turned over her minivan. All are still living daily with the questions that remain.


Tue, Jun 25, 2013 : 10:52 a.m.

Despite their professionalism, it wouldn't seem feasible for an event like this not to bother them for many years.


Tue, Jun 25, 2013 : 10:50 a.m.

Very sad, indeed. Nothing worse than loosing little children like this. A note of caution for all drivers of SUVs and pickup trucks. They are all very prone to roll over accidents because of the higher center of gravity. Please consider that when buckling in your children. And consider your speed along with that.


Tue, Jun 25, 2013 : 10:18 a.m.

Wow, it's been a year on this already. So sad -