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Posted on Fri, Apr 5, 2013 : 1:32 p.m.

Rollover crash on U.S. 23 leaves woman critically injured

By Cindy Heflin


Debris from a destroyed trailer lies scattered along the side of U.S. 23 after a rollover crash Friday morning.

Daniel Brenner |

A woman was critically injured Friday morning in a rollover crash on U.S. 23 north of Ann Arbor. A camping trailer she was hauling was destroyed in the crash.


The crash caused a lengthy backup on U.S. 23 Friday.

Daniel Brenner |

The crash blocked one lane of U.S. 23 for hours and caused a miles-long backup on the freeway.

The crash occurred about 10:30 a.m. Friday as the woman was driving a Ford Excursion north on U.S. 23 near Joy Road in Northfield Township. Somehow she lost control of the vehicle, said William Wagner, Northfield Township fire Chief.

A trailer she was pulling behind the SUV began to swerve, and firefighters believe the SUV and the trailer rolled over. The SUV was upright when firefighters arrived, but the trailer overturned and essentially disintegrated, Wagner said.

Huron Valley Ambulance paramedics took the woman, who was in critical condition, to the University of Michigan Hospital, said spokeswoman Karen Gabrys. The woman was the only occupant of the vehicle. Four dogs in the SUV appeared uninjured, except for possibly a minor bump, Wagner said.

As of 12:30 p.m. crews were still at the accident site cleaning it up, Wagner said. He expected them to be there for another hour or two.

The trailer contained gasoline cans and propane, Wagner said, but very little was spilled and winds whisked away any fumes, preventing the risk of explosion, he said. Ann Arbor Township firefighters also responded to the crash.

View Crash 040513 in a larger map



Sat, Apr 6, 2013 : 5:37 p.m.

I am happy the dogs are ok, in this kind of an accident seat belting you dog in could cause more harm then good. Because as the car rolls the dogs can straighten out manually. But with a seat belt on it can restricts them and the combilation of restraint and forces of the accident can snap their spine killing or paralyzingly them. Just like the accident I was in, I was rear ended by a van while driving and because I did not see it coming I was not braced, seatbelt held my left shoulder back while my right flew forward tearing muscle in my neck and shoulder. If I had not been wearing my seat belt I would Have been ok. Just startled a little. Because I was wearing my seatbelt I have to go through a life of pain. Because the state has sold out the the insurance companies . They can defraud you of your benefits, and in Michigan you coundnt sue if it was soft tissue damage.


Sat, Apr 6, 2013 : 4:22 p.m.

I don't know how we missed any of this but we went northbound on our way to Kid Rock in Saginaw about 2 pm and no sign of trouble. Having driven both a vehicle pulling a camper and now a motor home, the driver must know to slow down quickly when a trailer starts swaying. Most drivers i know will have a push button system installed in their car or truck that will activate the trailer brakes when needed to slow it down due to swaying. I didn't see in the article if the gal had that and didn't use it, or if she did use it and it failed, or if she didn't have that system installed in her rig. Anyway, too bad that she had to hurt herself and experience the loss of the wreck. Glad she didn't die and perhaps kill any number of other people that might have been involved. My thought is she was trying to drive too fast for the wind and the amount of weight she was pulling. I see so many RV drivers attempting to drive as fast as cars that aren't pulling anything. This just doesn't work, you have to plan more time as you need to drive slower.

Dean Combs II

Sat, Apr 6, 2013 : 1:20 p.m.

I've read both articles about this accident and the only mention of the 4 dogs is they were basically unhurt. This accident could have been caused by a lot of things, collectively or singularly. Four dogs in an SUV, kind of cramped don't you think

Ann English

Sat, Apr 6, 2013 : 11:43 p.m.

Nothing is said about the sizes of the dogs. They can be small, medium or large breeds. A mongrel having a small breed for a mother and a large breed for a father can be a small dog.


Sat, Apr 6, 2013 : 9:08 p.m.

Four Dogs in an SUV. Sounds like a television show doesn't it?

Silly Sally

Sat, Apr 6, 2013 : 3:06 p.m.

No, it can hold 8 people

Ron Melancon

Sat, Apr 6, 2013 : 1:14 p.m.

No special license but if a UPS truck driver did this..everybody would be going we ask.. Mr. President why have you ignored our letters that we have sent to the White House? Don't these children lives have any value? We think so...Why do you advocate NO STANDARDS FOR THESE TRAILERS?


Sat, Apr 6, 2013 : 4:24 p.m.

Dude, you think Pres BHO cares about anybody beside himself?

Ron Melancon

Sat, Apr 6, 2013 : 12:13 p.m.

THE TRUTH EVERYBODY! Currently, there are no standards in North America for manufacturing. horse trailers. To the best of my knowledge, standards are also. non-existent in New Zealand, Australia, and Europe. See what happened to NATALIE....

Ron Melancon

Sat, Apr 6, 2013 : 12:11 p.m.

We know all about these trailers...they have never been tested! and NTSB knows this....we told and wake up own Government does not want us to tell you..the truth. Henrico County Police is the worst in safety with utility trailers.


Sat, Apr 6, 2013 : 10:06 a.m.

Coming from an experienced camper with trailing experience, if your sway bar is not fitted properly this will happen. My stupid husband told me no problem everything is under control. Then we hit a patch of wind won't name where, but we almost caused a collision ourselves. Pulled over and the husband never said a word after that. Gotta watch your speed when towing folks and always double check the hitch. I would not be surprised if wind was a factor in this one. 23 has a wind tunnel.


Sat, Apr 6, 2013 : 2:44 a.m.

"Somehow she lost control of the vehicle, said William Wagner, Northfield Township fire Chief." WHY DID SHE LOSE CONTROL? These kinds of accidents keep happening, almost on a daily basis. Yet, we learn nothing about why these vehicles "leave" the roadway, or why someone loses control of the vehicle. Why isn't there more information given in these articles, which become just a list of accidents. Worse yet, there isn't any follow-up as to why these accidents happen, even after investigations occur. Another day, another accident on 23.


Sat, Apr 6, 2013 : 4:26 p.m.

Driving too fast, of course.

Fat Bill

Sat, Apr 6, 2013 : 3:34 a.m.

Make that "are one-sided..."

Fat Bill

Sat, Apr 6, 2013 : 3:33 a.m.

Why do you think anyone knows how she lost control? She's critically injured; the interviews in these cases is generally pretty one-sided....

greg s

Fri, Apr 5, 2013 : 10:20 p.m.

Glad the dogs were not hurt, that is the problem with taking our pets with us when we travel.


Sat, Apr 6, 2013 : 10:10 a.m.

Here is the real problem. Dogs not buckled into the seatbelts like humans are. Ours are when we travel long ways. They are trained to stay in the back. In one accident we had they said we were lucky the dog was under the seat. This was a van. We were injured. The dog? Scared. Some states do mandate buckling your dogs in. There is a bill, believe or not, to mandate dogs in backseat, buckled in. I am a firm believer in this one.


Fri, Apr 5, 2013 : 9:52 p.m.

As for the comments about the expressways in and around AA. US-23 from I-96 to I-94 needs to be 3 lanes in each direction the entire way. I-94 from M-14 to US-23 needs to be 3 lanes each direction. MDOT has never been proactive with the traffic volumes on these roads. MDOT, and most transportation organizations don't do a good job looking at future traffic volume expectations, only reacting to increases in traffic volume. this is why many roadways are so heavily packed before anything gets done.


Fri, Apr 5, 2013 : 10:37 p.m.

You know north of Flint on I-75 its 4--5 lanes. Why we don't have 5 lane expressways over here yet north of Flint has one, I got no idea. Could it be Mdot don't want traffic to always move quickly ?

Ann English

Fri, Apr 5, 2013 : 10:16 p.m.

"Roadways are so heavily packed," you say? Do you mean westbound I-94 slowing way down after 5 pm? I got caught in such a slowdown yesterday on it, and I have done the same years before. I've seen northbound US-23 getting a crowd of westbound M-14 motorists entering it during afternoon rush hour, when there was no construction scheduled on it and no accidents, either. The entrance ramp from eastbound North Territorial to northbound US-23 is an unusually short acceleration lane; it would especially help there if US-23 were three lanes wide.


Fri, Apr 5, 2013 : 9:50 p.m.

From the video that is part of the other article on this, I suspect a mechanical failure as the cause of this accident. The trailer appears to start weaving wildly before the wreck, but I don't see any brake lights coming on in the trailer. When I have seen accidents involving trailers going over like this, it is often a mechanical issue with the tow vehicle or trailer that causes the loss of control. This seems similar to the accident that killed Mr. Wallace on US-23 last month. That was caused by a tire failure IIRC. The picture of this wreck seems like the tires on the trailer are up, but the suspension looks mangled on the trailer. Was that a result of the accident, or was it the cause of the accident.


Sat, Apr 6, 2013 : 4:28 p.m.

Chap, it is usually because the driver is going too fast and the wind makes the camper sway. See my comment below.....

Silly Sally

Sat, Apr 6, 2013 : 3:03 p.m.

the trailer has a lot of surface area. The higher the speed, the more the wind will act on it. I like to drive fast and I notice that a boxy SUV does poorly at high speeds, especially if it is windy, whereas a sedan has no trouble.This trailer was BIG and BOXY with a big suraface area to weight. I'd bet that she was going 70 and not 55 or 60. Even if she were loaded incorrectly, a slower speed would likely have prevented this.


Sat, Apr 6, 2013 : 10:18 a.m.

chap? You hit it on the head. If the trailer is moving ineradicably and you have no idea what you are doing to control it, then yes, this will happen. This is driver fault. I'd love to see this video. From this you can tell who is at fault. What a mess to clean up.


Sat, Apr 6, 2013 : 3:39 a.m.

This doesnt have to be a mechanical issue-as most of these types of accidents are due to physics: you have a vehicle-that is lightweight in the rear-towing a trailer that is heavier than the rear of the tow vehicle. It cracks the whip, with the towing vehicle getting the worse of it. There are two ways to stop the sway once it begins: either brake and slow down sharply or accelerate rapidly until you straighten the trailer out-basically jerking it back into line..It doesnt take much to start the sway either-a minor down slope causing the heavier trailer to pick up speed, or even rough, rutted road causing it to sway back and forth. If people understand the forces that cause this, and take care both in loading the trailer properly, using the right towing vehicle and continuously watching it in their mirrors for signs of trouble, they will be able to prevent this from happening. Unfortunately, most people have no idea of how to actually tow a trailer and just hook it and go.


Fri, Apr 5, 2013 : 9:05 p.m.

I drive that stretch of road daily. I am wondering if the giant speed bump like mounds in the road are a cause of all the accidents? Over the past 20 years I have seen that stretch get repaired many times and it always is messed up. It would be nice if they made it 3 lanes when the merge occurs and used pavement instead of blacktop as it doesn't work there. I really hope she is ok.


Fri, Apr 5, 2013 : 10:34 p.m.

Likely plays a role. Folks also don't drive fast expect on the freeways, so they are not used to handling a car/suv at speed. On the secondary roads you can hold the steering wheel lightly and sip on a drink, chat on a phone, etc and nothing happens. Problem is, once at 75 mph, some folks still are holding the wheel lightly and yeah, one bad bump and it could cause a problem. Now of course Mdot will say no way, its not bad roads and bad driving---we need more electronic road signs.

Craig Lounsbury

Fri, Apr 5, 2013 : 8:42 p.m.

seems odd that 4 dogs would be uninjured while the sole human is in critical condition. Prayers for her recovery.

Craig Lounsbury

Sat, Apr 6, 2013 : 12:17 p.m.

I can't speak to Newtonian Physics but I have been upside down in cars twice in my life. One was a 180 where the car ended up on its roof and one was a 360 where it ended up back on its 4 tires. I still find it a bit odd. Unless she wasn't buckled up.


Fri, Apr 5, 2013 : 10:28 p.m.

Also the way us humans sit in a car , our heads are right in the way. In the old days folks like highway officers wore helmets but today like nobody expect racers use helmets in a car. Yet if everybody wore helmets-even those half helmets were the ears are not covered so you still can hear, I'm sure it help lower the death rates. But nobody is going to have an accident, that always happen to the other people. Wasn't for the law, few folks likely would wear their seat belts.


Fri, Apr 5, 2013 : 10:23 p.m.

One word, Air bags, wait, that is two words.


Fri, Apr 5, 2013 : 9:54 p.m.

It's mostly a matter of Newtonian Physics, Craig. That and the difference in "body plan" between canine and human. It's not at all intuitive or readily apparent, however. Speed of vehicle at the instant of the crash: is transferred to both kinds of occupants. From there, it's "mass times velocity squared" to arrive at "amount of energy" the dogs and (much more massive) woman "contain." From there, it's "bodies in motion tend to remain in motion" - until - said motion is stopped suddenly. Meanwhile, we're left with the question of what's going on with US-23 that causes these too frequent human tragedies.


Fri, Apr 5, 2013 : 8:24 p.m.

Throughout history, transportation has always preceded development. It is going to be hard to attract new development and industry to the State of Michigan with our roads, bridges and other components of our infrastructure in the condition they are in. US-23 appears to be coming the preferred highway for north/south traffic to and from Ohio and other locations throughout the Monroe, Washtenaw, Livingston & Genesee Counties & beyond, however it is in shambles and not designed for the today's traffic. Governor Snyder, I'm sure uses US-23 most everyday on his commute to and from Lansing; he has to see what a mess it is on a daily basis.....we need some of his "relentless positive action" in finding a way to pay for the much needed reconstruction and have MDOT and the legislature come up with a plan of action not only on this stretch of highway, but for the thousands of miles of crumbling roads and bridges throughout the state. Otherwise it is going to be very hard to attract new development and industry with third-world infrastructure.


Sat, Apr 6, 2013 : 2:47 a.m.

Tricky Ricky does not drive himself to Lansing. He has a limo and a driver while he surfs on his iphone or tablet in the back seat. Road conditions don't concern him, he doesn't drive.

Morty Seinfeld

Fri, Apr 5, 2013 : 7:57 p.m.

US-23...the highway of death! I don't know how many more people need to die on this highway before something gets done. It is outdated and dangerous for the amount of traffic and the speeds people drive. Years ago, it should have been widened to four lanes in each directions with wider shoulders and a continuous concrete barrier along the median. Granted, Lansing will tell us there is no money in the budget to pay for such a large scale project, though. So in the meantime, while too many people continue to drive too fast and too recklessly on this outdated stretch of highway, expect continuous accidents, serious injuries, and unfortunate deaths.


Fri, Apr 5, 2013 : 8:28 p.m.

How many have been injured or killed on 94.It is almost always something other than the road that causes crashes.

Sam S Smith

Fri, Apr 5, 2013 : 7:51 p.m.

Special thoughts and prayers for this young lady's complete recovery!


Sat, Apr 6, 2013 : 3:31 a.m.

Where is her age mentioned?


Fri, Apr 5, 2013 : 6:42 p.m.

What is up with 23 recently?

Ann English

Fri, Apr 5, 2013 : 10:36 p.m.

I see that the guardrail put in several years ago extends to this site, but now, motorists are getting into different kinds of accidents on US-23. That guardrail was put in after motorists left all the lanes going in their direction, crossed over into oncoming traffic, and collided or even FELL on those vehicles. One drunk driver hit a pickup truck, knocking it off the freeway, and then fell onto the vehicle of three friends heading back to Lansing after watching a college football bowl here. GoNavy, I think I know now that you're referring to US-23 in all of the Washtenaw County townships it passes through, not just in the northern half. That photo of the Milan crash revealed how easy it is for northbound traffic to cross over into southbound lanes. No concrete median, no guardrail, nothing.

Chase Ingersoll

Fri, Apr 5, 2013 : 6:01 p.m.

is is just me, or is this a


Fri, Apr 5, 2013 : 7:51 p.m.

Yes, is is a.


Fri, Apr 5, 2013 : 5:52 p.m.

I saw the clean up happening - it looked like a terrible crash. I hope the woman recovers. Glad the dogs are ok.