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Posted on Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 2:59 p.m.

U.S. 23 crash: Motorist killed when semitrailer overturns onto car

By Kyle Feldscher

Update: Southbound U.S. 23 was reopened at 5:23 p.m., dispatchers said.

One man was killed when a semitrailer overturned onto a car on southbound U.S. 23 north of Ann Arbor Monday afternoon.

Michigan State Police said a preliminary investigation found the car, a 2010 Chrysler PT Cruiser, and dual-trailer truck were traveling in the southbound lanes of the freeway north of Six Mile Road about 1 p.m. when a tire blew out on the semi, causing the driver to lose control. The semi swerved into the left lane, striking the passenger car, Sgt. Mark Thompson said in an emailed news release.

The rear trailer turned over onto the passenger car, Thompson said. The passenger car was crushed, killing the driver. The driver was a 58-year-old man from the Flint area, Michigan State Police Sgt. Mark Thompson said.

The guardrail leading to the point where the accident stopped was bent and disfigured, but the truck pinned the vehicle next to the guardrail.

The Washtenaw County Technical Rescue Team, which includes Huron Valley Ambulance, worked feverishly in the pouring rain Monday afternoon to right the trailer. The team had accomplished that before 2 p.m. The lone occupant of the car was declared dead at 2:05 p.m., Williams said. Further information about the accident victim was not available.

At one point, approximately 25 to 30 rescue workers were gathered around the vehicle, attempting to cut the person out. As the condition of the driver became clear, they slowly dissipated, leaving only four or five rescue workers huddled in the rain.

Emergency personnel were only able to cut off a portion of the car before 3 p.m. Monday. Workers draped a white sheet over part of the car before covering it with a blue tarp.

State police were still at the crash scene about 3 p.m. The freeway had been closed between 6 Mile and 8 Mile roads, the Washtenaw County Sheriff's Office said.

To this point, the only known injury is the deceased driver. The condition of the semi truck driver is unknown.

A Michigan State Police statement at 4:15 p.m. Monday confirmed the driver was a man, but no other information was being released until his family was notified. Alcohol does not appear to be a factor in the crash.

Southbound U.S. 23 is expected to reopen at 4:45 p.m., according to state police.

An accident reconstructionist was on scene Monday afternoon before the semi truck and crushed vehicle were taken away from the scene. As of 3 p.m., the driver's body was still in the vehicle.

Traffic was backed up along the freeway in both directions.

View U.S. 23 crash 031113 in a larger map

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



Wed, Mar 13, 2013 : 2:56 a.m.

This is a sad situation. The more I think about it the more I am troubled. Most car/truck accidents are caused by bad driving by the car driver, and not always the one still around after the accident (there are studies that verify this). A smaller percent are mechanical failures. Retreads are not allowed on steerers. Most everyone thinks the gator skins are from retread tires but actually studies show that very few are from retreads. Under inflation is the major cause of tread separation. You usually drive the same tractor but get a different trailer with every new load (called drop & hook). It is a hassle and takes time to inflate the trailer tires that the previous driver did not keep inflated. Drivers are usually paid by the mile to drive and don't get paid anything to air up tires so it is no surprise to find a many don't do it. Also trailer tires are often steerers that became unusable or drive tires that no longer have enough tread. These are put on trailers and may already be starting to fail from tread separation from alignment or balance problems that caused them to be taken off the tractor. Fortunately most tire failures, even on steerers, don't result in loss of control or end up causing an accident. As a professional driver, it is my opinion that it is way too easy to get a license to drive a car, a bus or even a semi truck. A car license is considered a "right" once you are old enough and CDL training is expensive. But considering the number of accidents more needs to be done.


Tue, Mar 12, 2013 : 7:29 p.m.

The map is wrong the crash was North of were the map shows. It was North of Schrum of Main Street, not by 6 Mile Road over pass. I video was taken North of the crash site across the street from the Northfield Township Hall.

Kyle Feldscher

Tue, Mar 12, 2013 : 7:46 p.m.

Judy, you are correct. The map is an approximate location. In the heat of getting this story up, we did not have time to adjust the placement of the arrow on the map to where the crash happened.


Tue, Mar 12, 2013 : 2:42 p.m.

Looks like there was a rollover on 23 this am around 10, appeared to be a Subaru in the northbound lane exiting on to westbound washtenaw. Missing a phot op.


Tue, Mar 12, 2013 : 12:14 p.m.

it seems everyone here thinks this is kind of a random accident. i don't. these haulers are very different in weight and structure from a normal semi tractor/trailer combo. and are far more closely regulated for safety in other states. this one was one, with its second trailer, had far too much weight to be properly controled at the speeds on michigan freeways and probably even further comprimised by its maintenance(tireds) and the condition of our roads. it is my hope that the maintenance records for this vehicle are available for examination. i hope that the state takes a very close look at the accident rate of these vehicles in particular. i also hope that the citizens of this state consider the size, weight and damage these vehicles do (and recognize that Gov. Snyder is setting forth to shift the burden of our road repairs to light weight drivers instead of these damaging vehicles)....this ain't random, its a system.


Tue, Mar 12, 2013 : 3:32 a.m.

Very Unfortunate accident. When it comes to tire conditions on semi's its usually the companies that will run the tires until they damn near fall off or blow out before they replace them. Being a driver i always check and report tire conditions on any truck i drive and i always report tire conditions. But its the same old story from company owners or supervisors don't worry about it unless there's some obvious damage to the tire and sometimes that doesn't get them replaced in a timely manner. There's quite a few companies i've worked for whose trailers and trailer tires that are in deplorable conditions. Best advise hurry up and pass any big truck don't hang there next to them taking forever to pass. The last place you want to be is next to a semi when a tire blows out.

Just Be Nice

Tue, Mar 12, 2013 : 11:27 a.m.

A good driver always checks his truck before heading out on the road. If a driver is asked to take an unsafe vehicle he should refuse. Report the company to the appropriate authorities.


Tue, Mar 12, 2013 : 2:44 a.m.

Another reason why 23 should have been widened to 3 lanes instead of just expanding the shoulder.


Tue, Mar 12, 2013 : 5:57 p.m.

Yes, it would be nice if US 23 was 3 lanes on each side, but.......when Lansing (both sides Left & Right) never looks ahead for these types of projects and everyone complains about highter taxes do not look for it to happen very soon. All the bridges would have to be replaced and look how look it took to do the work a Silver Lake Road.


Tue, Mar 12, 2013 : 2:33 p.m.

I agree 100% that 23 should have been widened (seriously, there's been traffic jams up to Brighton as long as I've been driving, some 25 years). But the tire didn't blow and the driver didn't lose control just because there's only two lanes there. As Basic Bob says, if a gravel truck falls on you when you weren't expecting it, your chances of escaping are incredibly low.

Basic Bob

Tue, Mar 12, 2013 : 5:27 a.m.

It doesn't help when the truck suddenly rolls over into the lane next to him. Even NASCAR drivers would likely be crushed.


Tue, Mar 12, 2013 : 12:16 a.m.

Since the truck's load was scrap metal, I wonder if a piece of scrap metal from the origin site had something to do with the tire failure (If in fact that was the cause). By chance, was this load from the old Ford Wixon plant? They are now transporting a lot of scrap metal out from tha site. I agree that a tire failure should not cause loss of control. You hold onto the steering wheel and let it coast to a stop. A rear blowout can cause loss of control, less likely a front. My condolences to both victims. The truck driver is also a victim.

Just Be Nice

Tue, Mar 12, 2013 : 11:19 a.m.

Have you ever driven a semi? They do handle a bit differently than a passenger vehicle (sarcasm intended).

Terry Star21

Tue, Mar 12, 2013 : 1:49 a.m.

"I agree that a tire failure should not cause loss of control". You can't be serious !!!!!!!!


Tue, Mar 12, 2013 : 12:06 a.m.

First off I would like to say that the victims family along with the driver of the semi are in my prayers tonight. Secondly, after reading all the comments about how people speed up to pass a semi or slow way down when they are near, you are just putting yourself, along with others at risk for more accidents. I know that it is scary to be driving next to a semi as well as behind a semi, but I also know what it is like to be in the semi as well. Tires can blow at any given time, no matter where you are at. Let this is a good reason to keep a good distance from the traffic ahead of you.


Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 9:47 p.m.

AAA traffic shows red all the way up US-23 to the accident scene at 5:45pm. Husband got caught in it coming west on M-14.


Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 9:28 p.m.

Very sad, looking at the pictures there seems to be a series of tires on semi trailer how could one blowout cause the trailer to loose control and rollover, seems to me that maybe a failure in the suspension or an overloaded weight along with excessive speed, either way its terrible this happened.


Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 9:48 p.m.

It was a left front tire according to another commenter who was behind the accident.


Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 9:23 p.m.

This was terrible,I was behind behind the car that got crushed it was a pt cruiser, I think he died instantly , all my prayers for him family FRont left front tire blew out on seme and he lost control and came into left lane, a $500.00 dollar tire cost a man his life


Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 9:20 p.m.

About 35,000 people are slaughtered on US highways every year. One would think this alone would be motivation for increasing mass transit options in major corridors in the country. Unfortunately, Big Auto and Big Oil will have none of it and therefore it won't happen. They have bought off the politicians.


Tue, Mar 12, 2013 : 1:48 p.m.

Will you please refrain from using this tragedy as a platform for your political views? there's a time and place for that kind of thing.

Usual Suspect

Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 9:59 p.m.

"slaughtered " ????


Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 9:53 p.m.

Saying that people are "slaughtered" on the roads is a gross abuse of the word. People dioe because of other people's negligence. Furthermore, you are making assumption that mass transit options--railways--would significantly reduce the number of deaths. That is a faulty assumption.Many Americans have loved the freedom that comes with being able to drive yourself from place to place. Mass transit is mostly used by urbanites would rarely move beyond the parameters of a large urban area. Many Americans enjoy the flexibility that cars give. Mass transit fails entirely in that regard. It is intellectually lazy to simply blame oil and auto companies for a lack of movement on the development of railway. Americans once had that mass transit option you speak of and instead chose cars.


Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 9:15 p.m.

Very tragic accident. This is what happens with constant congestion on roadways. No room to maneuver when things go wrong, like blown out tires. Yet, none of the proposals for the city's mass transit include the 23 corridor, which is jammed with commuters every day.


Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 10:03 p.m.

Have you heard of Wally?


Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 8:48 p.m.

My prayers go out to the family of the driver who lost their life. Also a prayer for the driver of the semi, even though it appears not to be his fault I'm sure he feels horrible.


Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 8:45 p.m.

Not just a double bottom truck, but looking at the photo, a gravel hauler! Living near a road with a gravel quarry I see many gravel haulers in too big a hurry, parked on road in dark before the gates open, poorly maintained equipment, etc. I'd like to know what shape his tires were in and whether poor maintenance contributed to this tragedy. Victim completely innocent - what a shame, and terrible for his family. Prayers for them.


Tue, Mar 12, 2013 : 10:09 a.m.

Yes, I'm also very curious to see if poor maintenance contributed. I would not be surprised.


Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 9:45 p.m.

I now what you mean about gravel haulers. But the load on this truck almost looks like scrap metal.


Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 8:42 p.m.

How awful! Prayers to all involved. I hate driving next to dual-trailer trucks. I wish only single-trailer trucks were allowed on the road, it seems like dual-trailer trucks would be very difficult to operate.

Usual Suspect

Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 9:58 p.m.

" it seems like dual-trailer trucks would be very difficult to operate." They're not. Except in reverse.


Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 9:16 p.m.

This looks like a dual trailer truck that was filled with very heavy material, perhaps from a construction area. These are too large for most highways, especially when something like a blow out happens. They should not be allowed on highways. Semis have been getting longer and longer every year and more accidents will result.


Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 8:25 p.m.

that's why when I pass a semi I go about 90mph


Tue, Mar 12, 2013 : 2:52 p.m.

and what facts are you basing your comment on WalkingJoe? I know several people who could drive 100+ in cars designed for those speeds and they're safer than a semi doing 70, or an idiot texting doing 55...


Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 10:23 p.m.

When Bobby is passing a truck? I am usually the one right behind him.


Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 9:26 p.m.

People going 90mph are more dangerous than most semis.


Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 8:04 p.m.

Condolences to all involved. I always encourage my wife to get past any semi as quickly as possible.Spending as little time as possible beside them.


Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 10:08 p.m.

JRW & Youwhine I agree with both of you.


Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 9:42 p.m.

JRW, the safest way to pass a semi is to wait until the car ahead of you has completely passed the truck, lessening the chances you will get trapped beside them (in their blindspot). However, sometimes, no matter what you do, you just can't avoid a freak occurrence.


Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 9:18 p.m.

Unfortunately, in congested traffic conditions, which is most of the time on 23, cars passing trucks can't go any faster than the cars in front of them, and speeding isn't a good idea in any situation. Too much congestion on 23.


Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 8:27 p.m.

You learn that quickly when you ride a motorcycle.

Dirty Mouth

Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 7:59 p.m.

My condolences to the family. What a tragic and sad event. Anyone out there besides me wonder about the safety of retreads? You know, those black snaking spirals of discarded steel-belted tire debris littering our highways? I realize that retreads are significantly cheaper than new tires, but they also seem to litter most of our highways as well. Any chance of retreads being ruled unsafe and banned from our nation's highways?


Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 11:42 p.m.

I jut read below that someone said it was his front tire. Lat I knew, re-treads are not allowed on steering axles.


Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 11:40 p.m.

You will find that re-treads are safe. the problem is the truck drivers/companies run them past beyond the point where they are supposed to be taken off. Orthey run them hot because of being underinflated or overweight and then they separate. Re-treads are safe if used the way they were designed. Hard to believe but it is true. I actually went to a school on tires as a crash reconstructionist.


Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 8:07 p.m.

Kyle Feldscher - that would be an excellent question to ask a researcher at U-M's Transportation Research Institute, because they study safety in the commercial trucking industry.


Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 7:43 p.m.

This is awful :'(

Craig Lounsbury

Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 7:34 p.m.

prayers to family and friends. It is frightening to think one can be "minding their own business" on the road and suddenly lose ones life.


Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 7:33 p.m.

How awful! Prayers to the family.


Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 7:32 p.m.

Man that is really sad, RIP

Dr. Fate

Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 7:28 p.m.

Wow, this could have been any one of us on any random day.


Tue, Mar 12, 2013 : 5:46 p.m.

You just never no when it maybe your turn to go so tell the ones you love that you love them every chance you get. My Mr. Wallces rest in peace.


Tue, Mar 12, 2013 : 1:44 p.m.

Yes, makes you want to hug your loved ones more often.


Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 10:22 p.m.

Agreed. Another reason I pass trucks as fast as I can or slow down to let em pass.

Paula Gardner

Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 8:16 p.m.

My thought, too. I commuted on that highway in the 1990s and it still feels "close to home."


Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 7:22 p.m.

So sad. I'm sure that the Washtenaw County Technical Rescue Team did their absolute best - the person in that car had no chance.


Mon, Mar 11, 2013 : 7:19 p.m.

That's just really sad. Prayers to all involved.