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Posted on Thu, Oct 25, 2012 : 5:44 p.m.

Police identify 29-year-old Ann Arbor man found outside vehicle in ditch

By Kyle Feldscher


Brewer's driver Patrick Birmingham navigates a tight squeeze as he tows an SUV through an opening next to Penske Truck Rental on Plymouth Road Thursday.

Melanie Maxwell |

Previous article: City workers find body outside mangled car while searching for missing fire hydrant

Ann Arbor police have identified a 29-year-old Ann Arbor man who was found dead outside of a car Thursday morning. Police said he appeared to be the victim of the crash.

Sgt. Matt Lige said the man had been identified, but police are not releasing his name until his family has been notified. It’s still unknown how long the man had been dead before city workers discovered him Thursday morning.

The man appeared to be the only occupant of a Hyundai Santa Fe discovered on its side in a ditch near the Penske Truck Rental on Plymouth Road near the Parc Pointe Apartments Thursday. Ann Arbor city workers had gone to the area to replace a fire hydrant and came across the vehicle in the ditch when they were looking for the missing fire hydrant.

“We just believe this is a fatal car crash,” Lige said. “The circumstances are bizarre, but there is nothing suspicious at this point other than a car crash.”

The Santa Fe was found between 50 and 75 feet away from Plymouth Road in a ditch, located about 25 feet away from the Penske building. The heavily wooded area is covered by large reeds and trees that made it nearly impossible to see the vehicle. The Ann Arbor Forestry Department had to come out to the site and help clear away some of the plants to allow police to investigate.

Police said initial investigation showed the vehicle was traveling east on Plymouth Road and left the roadway on the north side. Ann Arbor police Sgt. Bill Clock is leading the investigation into the incident.

The car was heavily damaged by the time it was removed from the ditch — the front end was smashed beyond repair and windows were broken out. Both the passenger and driver’s sides suffered heavy damage and the driver’s side doors would not open when they were pulled by officers on scene.

Police were sent to the scene at 9:50 a.m. Thursday. The incident remains under investigation.

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


Kyle Feldscher

Mon, Oct 29, 2012 : 8:29 p.m.

I just wanted to double back with you guys on this: I'm still actively reporting on this story, but there will be nothing new reported today. This is a very sensitive case with a lot of moving parts and I'm trying to handle it as sensitively as I can. I appreciate your patience.


Tue, Oct 30, 2012 : 8:25 p.m.

It sounds like the police did not investigate, did not report him missing, and reminds me of the lack of follow up after the Dexter/Maple road fatality, where we heard nothing about the killer except "there was a medical issue". What about our right to know?


Mon, Oct 29, 2012 : 11:29 p.m.

So, from what I can gleam from the previous comments, this was a local man, not the type to wander off, who was reported missing in early September and there was no coverage of it? Yet when a cat went missing from a downtown store last year we got daily updates? Someone isn't doing their job here - either or the police department in not releasing information of public concern. Which is it?

Kyle Feldscher

Mon, Oct 29, 2012 : 1 p.m.

I am actively working to get more information on this story. I was off on Friday and reporters here were following the story in my stead. I will hopefully have more information on this later today.

Walaa Mahmoud

Mon, Oct 29, 2012 : 2:15 a.m.

Okay, if the body was there for a while....why hasn't the family filed a missing person (prior found by construction workers)???


Wed, Oct 31, 2012 : 1:21 p.m.

You should read the comment above yours.....


Sun, Oct 28, 2012 : 4:03 a.m.

Thank you everyone for your prayers and thoughts. The last we heard from my brother was September 8th. We made numerous calls to the police and tried to seek help. I knew something wasn't right. His cell was off, no bank activity and none of his friends heard from him. It took a missing fire hydrant to recover the car and body. Everything on the articles I have read is either false or doesn't make sense at all. My brother was a good man and loved by everyone. We spents days and night searching for him. He just wasn't fortunate enough to make it home that night.


Tue, Oct 30, 2012 : 2:34 p.m.

Thank you. Atleast we can get a piece of my mind now as to his whereabouts. Very tragic and painful that it happened this way. I hope this never happens to anyone.


Tue, Oct 30, 2012 : 1:58 p.m.

Munira, I am so sorry your family has had to go through this. I couldnt imagine not knowing where my loved one was for such a lengthy period of time. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. I hope your family gets resolution on the circumstances surrounding this horrible situation.


Mon, Oct 29, 2012 : 2:24 p.m.

I am very sorry for your loss. I believe your brother was a good man and loved. It sounds like it was a feak accident that took his life. And the circumstances prevented the authorities from figuring it out for over a month. I don't know, perhaps more could have been done. In any case, my prayers are with you.

Barb's Mom

Sun, Oct 28, 2012 : 12:37 p.m.

Our condolences to you and your family. Having lost a child ourselves, we know what you are going through.


Sat, Oct 27, 2012 : 6:07 p.m.

You should change your title to "Police Identify fatality but name not released" but then you wouldn't get so many clicks on the story


Sat, Oct 27, 2012 : 4:05 p.m.

"Ann Arbor police have identified a 29-year-old Ann Arbor man who was found dead outside of a car Thursday morning. Police said he appeared to be the victim of the crash." Well, at least now we know that the driver didn't get out of the car, kill a person trying to help him, and disappeared...


Sat, Oct 27, 2012 : 1:58 p.m.

Is any one else wondering about Kyle's reporting on this story ? Seems we know more in the discussion than he does. Check the reply to GoNavy and the comment from A2 life. The dead man is 29, the kin is aware, and still no name. How hard is it to look up the date of the Hydrant wreck if you are a reporter ? The hydrant wreck involved property damage so the police should have photos of the vehicle parts left at the site. Do they match ? Why the information hold up ? CYA ?


Sat, Oct 27, 2012 : 7:30 p.m.

How do you read that from A2lifes post ? His comment mentions nothing of the sort. Sounds like the next of kin HAVE been notified- A2life KNOWS the name- not sounding like speculation. Stories are often updated with wortless info - like this one (We identified the driver- but are not releasing the name) How about an update with information ? What about my comments and others regarding the hydrant ? Sorry to disagree, but its his job to FIND out and inform the public. Im not so concerned about the ID as I am the implacation that a shoddy job was done at the original scene and someone may have died as a result. Maybe thats why the lack of released info. Do you always trust what the police tell you ? I don't and Kyle should get his own info, not just depend on what he is fed.


Sat, Oct 27, 2012 : 4:52 p.m.



Sat, Oct 27, 2012 : 3:29 p.m.

"Sgt. Matt Lige said the man had been identified, but police are not releasing his name until his family has been notified." Clearly stated that the POLICE know who the victim is, not that Kyle knows who the victim is. Unless the person is some kind of prominent person of public interest, this seems to be common practice - name released to public only after family members are notified. I am sure you would want the same courtesy if it was someone in your family who had died. The fact that some reader knows someone who drives a vehicle like the one pictured and has been missing, and posts that information, is no taint on Kyle's reporting.


Sat, Oct 27, 2012 : 1:11 p.m.

When did the accident happen?


Sun, Oct 28, 2012 : 4:21 p.m.

It happened september 9th the family reported him missing. The police wede two negligent to investigate sooner. Very tragic


Fri, Oct 26, 2012 : 11:32 p.m.

we would like to know victim name .


Sun, Oct 28, 2012 : 4:44 p.m.

Honestly what difference does it make all we need to know is that he was someones son, nephew, brother and friend.

Jessica Myers

Sat, Oct 27, 2012 : 12:33 a.m.

Apparently A2life knows/knew the person. They refer to him as "A.B." in their post. In other news, I knew of someone called A.B. in high school.

Rick Stevens

Fri, Oct 26, 2012 : 10:41 p.m.

So will say 'Ann Arbor man' but not go any further? How many headlines before we get the full story. Sad tale, but not helped by's 'new news' antics.


Fri, Oct 26, 2012 : 10:16 p.m.

This is just sad he was missing for about 6 weeks! And to know he was that close to home...R.I.P! A.B You will be missed..dang we had some fun days!


Sat, Oct 27, 2012 : 1:13 p.m.

So who is AB? And he was in the ditch for six weeks?


Fri, Oct 26, 2012 : 10:02 p.m.

My heart and prayers go out to this young man's family and friends. I know the devastation they are feeling right now.


Fri, Oct 26, 2012 : 4:03 p.m.

That's not exactly a cheap vehicle. You'd think that even if the person lived alone, his workplace would have reported him missing, unless he was some sort of independent contractor or solo entrepreneur.


Sun, Oct 28, 2012 : 4:40 p.m.

He did not live alone. He had friends and families that cared for him. He was so close to home and never made it. Forestry department? Hard to believe i went to the scene


Fri, Oct 26, 2012 : 9:27 p.m.

Not necessarily. This guy could have been retired or simply as we all are, unemployed. These vehicles can be bought cheap if used. I am looking at that wreck and going wow. As for the forestry dept? They come out just to make sure no endangered plants are being harmed. Dead serious on that one. No pun intended. Will wait for the outcome on this mystery before Halloween.


Fri, Oct 26, 2012 : 3:30 p.m.

I've heard the fire hydrant was knocked out almost a month ago, and the police thought the driver had the vehicle towed before they got there. Do they now believe this is the same person?


Fri, Oct 26, 2012 : 10:15 p.m.

Oh, that would be very bad if that is the case. I would hate to think the person was injured and made it out of the automobile but was not found.


Fri, Oct 26, 2012 : 1:44 p.m.

My prayers go out to the family and friends, I pray they find the answers they seek.


Fri, Oct 26, 2012 : 11:52 a.m.

Family notified? Is there any news here on how long this guy has been missing? When he was reported missing? Approximately how long the police think the body has been there?


Sun, Oct 28, 2012 : 4:35 p.m.

Kyle are you sure? The man was reported missing along with the car september 10th. How would they fit the description when the body is decomposed

Kyle Mattson

Fri, Oct 26, 2012 : 3 p.m.

Hi GoNavy- We haven't heard of anything regarding a reported missing person fitting the description provided by officials. We'll update when more information becomes available.


Fri, Oct 26, 2012 : 1:38 p.m.

All good questions, hopefully we'll get some answers. Not sure who is voting your comment down....


Fri, Oct 26, 2012 : 6:48 a.m.

Appears to be a high speed (possibly roll-over) single vehicle crash. It'll be interesting to see if the investigation confirms this (because of the implications associated with that type of crash). So, yeah, there's room of more follow up stories.

Richard C

Fri, Oct 26, 2012 : 4:28 a.m.

Does anyone have any idea of how long ago this crash occurred? The connecting article mentions that the body was badly decomposed.


Sun, Oct 28, 2012 : 4:33 p.m.

It occured 6 weeks ago.

Kyle Mattson

Fri, Oct 26, 2012 : 2:56 p.m.

Hi Richard. Police are still investigating and we will update when the full report is complete.


Fri, Oct 26, 2012 : 3:38 a.m.

"The Ann Arbor Forestry Department had to come out to the site and help clear away some of the plants to allow police to investigate." Please don't tell us the plants took precedent over the investigation!


Fri, Oct 26, 2012 : 7:19 p.m.

I'm guessing that, since this was not an emergency rescue, but a recovery, the reason the Forestry Department was involved was actually to preserve as much of the site as possible, to aid in the investigation. Sad, sad circumstances. Condolences to family and freinds of the deceased.


Fri, Oct 26, 2012 : 2:05 p.m.

I'm guessing they called the Forestry department because those are the guys who have the tools to clear plants.


Fri, Oct 26, 2012 : 1:54 p.m.

PLEASE tell me that if he was alive they would have NOT have called the A2 Forestry Dept. to clear the area before attempting to save his life!!!


Fri, Oct 26, 2012 : 1:07 p.m.

In retrospect my comment should not have been made. I certainly did not intend to disrespect the deceased young man. And I apologize to his family for the appearance of disrespect. It just read to me like they had to come out and protect the plants. And I thought that seemed disrespectful to put it that way. Again I apologize.

Angry Moderate

Fri, Oct 26, 2012 : 4:12 a.m.

A man is dead and the disrespectful posters still come out. Even I held back my usual negative comments on this story.

two canoes

Fri, Oct 26, 2012 : 1:45 a.m.

This is truly sad. Condolences to his family. Thank goodness he was found.


Fri, Oct 26, 2012 : 12:09 a.m.

This is indeed a very sad story. My thoughts are with his family and those who cared about him.


Sun, Oct 28, 2012 : 4:32 p.m.

He had family and friends that cared for him. He was reported missing


Fri, Oct 26, 2012 : 1:33 p.m.

GoNavy, a response like yours indicates very little understanding of what may have happened here. Criticism is misplaced in my opinion.


Fri, Oct 26, 2012 : 1:12 p.m.

Someone that lives alone and doesn't have family or friends that they stay in touch with.

Craig Lounsbury

Thu, Oct 25, 2012 : 10:01 p.m.

prayers to family and friends of the deceased .