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Posted on Wed, Mar 20, 2013 : 6:34 p.m.

Driver killed in Ypsilanti Township crash

By John Counts

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A woman suffered fatal injuries in this head-on collision in Ypsilanti Township Wednesday evening.

Courtney Sacco |

One driver was killed and the other taken to the hospital in unstable condition Wednesday evening after a head-on crash at North Hewitt Road and Valley Drive in Ypsilanti Township, officials confirmed.

Emergency crews were dispatched to the intersection for the crash at 6:09 p.m., said Joyce Williams with Huron Valley Ambulance. Williams confirmed that one of the drivers was fatally injured and the other driver was taken to St. Joseph Mercy Hospital in unstable condition.

Lt. Fred Anstead of the Ypsilanti Township Fire Department said the driver fatally injured was a woman and the driver transported was a man. No other information about either driver was immediately being released.

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Emergency crews respond to a fatal accident in Ypsilanti Township Wednesday night.

Courtney Sacco |

The man had to be extricated from his vehicle by the Jaws of Life and suffered multiple injuries in the head-on collision, Anstead said. There were no passengers in either vehicle, Anstead added.

The accident occurred on Hewitt just south of Valley Drive. The Washtenaw County Sheriff's Office issued an alert just after 7 p.m. stating that North Hewitt Road was closed due to the accident and motorists should avoid the area for several hours. Anstead said the sheriff's office is investigating the accident. Officials from the sheriff's office could not immediately be reached for information.

A 19-year-old Ypsilanti Township man died in a car accident near the same intersection last November.

It is the third fatal crash in Washtenaw County this week. On Friday, a 63-year-old Willis man died in an Augusta Township crash. Then on Monday morning, a 22-year-old Belleville man was killed on Old U.S. 12 near Chelsea.

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



Sat, Mar 23, 2013 : 11:14 p.m.

So I have a jeep that looks like that. Let me guess. The one in the jeep lived and the other did not? Just curious because jeeps have a higher accident rating then this car does. Which is much much lower. Although I am hearing now one other jeep fatality? Scary. I am also curious as to how the two cars ended up in the same lane. Worrisome.

Woman in Ypsilanti

Thu, Mar 21, 2013 : 4:13 p.m.

I don't know what caused this accident of course. I can say though that I have encountered several people going across the yellow lines lately. I think they might be swerving to avoid pot holes.Remember, it is better to get the flat tire than to hit someone head on. Please don't swerve into oncoming traffic.


Thu, Mar 21, 2013 : 4:02 p.m.

I live on Hewitt, drove by the site this morning. Looks like the car crossed over who knows how many of the four possible lanes and hit the jeep head on. All the naysayers about speed reduction and lack of enforcement, and would rather have more alert and cautious drivers; how would you enforce it? I agree with the comment below, it needs to go down to three lanes and speed reduced. Five lanes are too much for a residential area with three schools in the immediate area.


Thu, Mar 21, 2013 : 1:45 p.m.

Prayers to all those affected by this crash.

Eileen Peck

Thu, Mar 21, 2013 : 1:44 p.m.

To the families of the victims of this accident: You have my prayers and my heartfelt condolences. To all of my neighbors who live in the area of the accident: I am told that Hewitt will be considered for a "road diet" in 2014, which will reduce traffic to one lane in each direction and institute a left turn lane for traffic in both directions. Please contact the township supervisor's office and the Washtenaw County Road Commission to express your support for this change. To everyone else who drives this stretch of road: We have had three fatal accidents between Valley and Midvale in the last six months. We regularly see major accidents along this stretch of road, including two rollover accidents in the past three years. Your speed may or may not be a factor in the cause of a crash, but does that really matter? Speed certainly factors into the damage done to your cars, yourselves and our properties. Hewitt between Ellsworth and Packard is R-E-S-I-D-E-N-T-I-A-L and that will not change. The next time you drive north or south on Hewitt, just for fun, count the number of driveways and intersections you pass on your way to wherever you're going, and then think about this: each driveway and intersection you pass represents an opportunity for a collision, as does each car in front of you that has to slow down or stop before making a turn. Hewitt is already very dangerous because of the topography of the area. Please respect that and choose to drive carefully on this road.

Ann English

Fri, Mar 22, 2013 : 11:44 p.m.

Nobody is using the word, "crest," to describe the tops of Hewitt's hills, but I understand the alternate terminology; I had always considered the crests on road hills to be primary areas for motorcyclists to collide with vehicles making left turns into driveways just beyond the crests. Now I see it isn't limited to motorcycles. People might be catching up at last on sleep lost during March 9-10, with that lost hour overnight; I didn't see any vehicles stopped by police today, who might have given evidence of drowsy driving. That's my best guess regarding the Ms. Lewis' crossing over to the northbound lanes.


Thu, Mar 21, 2013 : 4:05 p.m.

Eileen Peck, Solid comment.

Eileen Peck

Thu, Mar 21, 2013 : 3:05 p.m.

Shadeau, I thought perhaps the driver might have swerved into the northbound lanes to avoid hitting a southbound car that was stopped to make a left at Valley. Just a guess. I can't imagine too many circumstances that explain why she crossed the yellow line.


Thu, Mar 21, 2013 : 2:44 p.m.

I would support the left turn lane and reduced speed. I wish I could believe that it would help. People just don't seem to be paying attention along that stretch and the topography just makes it more difficult. I'm also not sure that either one were a factor in this particular accident, but I'll wait to see if anyone enlightens us as to how this occurred.


Thu, Mar 21, 2013 : 12:23 p.m.

That is a dangerous section of road. Two years ago my husband was sitting at Hewitt waiting to make a left turn onto Burns and a girl just plowed right into the back of his truck at 45 m.p.h. Both of them could have been killed, but they both walked away. There should be a turn lane on Hewitt. I've noticed other streets with just 4 lanes are being made into one lane each way with a center turn lane and bike lanes. I wonder if that might help.


Thu, Mar 21, 2013 : 10:10 a.m.

Prayers are being sent to all affected by this horrible accident. I just drove down that stretch of road on Tuesday for the first time in a couple of years and I was taken back of the amount of traffic traveling through there at 6:00 pm and how fast the cars driving through there.

Ann English

Fri, Mar 22, 2013 : 11:32 p.m.

I used Hewitt today only from S. Congress to Michigan Avenue, and started paying attention to my speed: 30 mph before coming to a stop at Ellsworth. I used Mansfield instead of the hill on Hewitt today.


Thu, Mar 21, 2013 : 3:27 a.m.

My husband and I saw this from our street (Midvale) and our hearts immediately went out to all involved. It's quite scary turning left from our street because of the lack of visibility on that hill. It's a place where a stoplight is MUCH needed.


Thu, Mar 21, 2013 : 3:28 p.m.

A stoplight might cause more issues as if theres a visibility problem from the hill then there would be randomly stopped traffic (to rear end) far more often which is compounded with nighttime & weather conditions. A 3 way stop (once people got used to it being there) would probably be safest and accomplish slowing traffic down as well.

Tom Todd

Thu, Mar 21, 2013 : 2:33 a.m.

Slow Down Drivers!


Thu, Mar 21, 2013 : 3:25 p.m.

Maybe everyone was travelling within the speed limits and just made poor judgement by turning in front of someone else, otherwise not paying attention or medical issue (as someone else pointed out)?


Thu, Mar 21, 2013 : 1:28 a.m.

For all we know, the driver of the Pontiac could have suffered a medical emergency before the accident. We will have to wait and find that out once the investigation is done. But for sure sending prayers to both drivers families and wishing a speedy recovery for the lone survivor. I had just driven through this area like 10 minutes before the accident. And ditchdoctor, the accident you are talking about is not in Washtenaw County. That actually is Jackson County if I remember correctly or Lenawee County. That is why it is not included in the count for accidents in the past week.

Susanne Brace

Thu, Mar 21, 2013 : 1:09 a.m.

Such a sad day. I feel for the families who have lost a loved one today. Just this morning on my way to work I thought I was going to get into a head on collision (or see one) because of another driver using my lane as a turning lane. I was heading north on Hewitt at the time passing S. Congress and I see another car coming south and veering into my lane where she stayed until she turned onto Merill. All I could do was slow to a stop until she got out of the way as going to the left would have put my into oncoming traffic and there were cars coming up on my right. Is this a common occurrence? Do people think there is a turn lane on Hewitt? I've never felt there to be a blind hill/corner on Hewitt heading north. Coming up the hill I think is blind. Slower speeds would help if people followed them. Starting by only going 45 would be nice.


Thu, Mar 21, 2013 : 1:09 a.m.


Joe F.

Thu, Mar 21, 2013 : 1:01 a.m.

I live on Midvale St. at the top of the hill. The only time that turn onto Hewitt is if I am turning right to travel North. It is a dangerous intersection, I usually drive through the neighborhood and come out to Hewitt on S. Congress so that I have a traffic light. I have been rear ended once traveling South trying to turn left onto my street at the top of the hill....I just go around now...even I turn my left signal on at the bottom of the hill, other cars are driving too fast to realize that there is a street at the top of the hill on the curve. I agree that the speed limit needs to be reduced, especially with Ypsilanti High School at the bottom of the hill and all of the young people walking through that area.


Thu, Mar 21, 2013 : 1:23 p.m.

I lived on Merrill years back and was rear-ended on Hewitt while attempting to turn left onto Merrill. And had many close calls in addition to that. You can't tell me that slowing things down thru there wouldn't help some!


Thu, Mar 21, 2013 : 12:13 p.m.

We used to live on Valley Dr. We've seen too many fatal accidents at that intersection. Remember the day when it was two lanes and much steeper? It hasn't gotten any better with the new four lane road. We would choose to turn at Midvale and go through the neighborhood just to avoid stopping to turn left onto Valley at the bottom of the hill. Prayers for every life lost to these accidents over the years. I'm so sorry to see this occur.


Thu, Mar 21, 2013 : 3:31 a.m.

I completely agree. I make the left onto Midvale every single day and I've almost been rear-ended more than once, even though I slow down and put my blinker on before I even reach Valley.


Thu, Mar 21, 2013 : 1:17 a.m.

I'm always nervous making that left turn onto Midvale and watch traffic behind me carefully. I also always make myself pause when I get to the top of the hill as it is difficult to judge oncoming traffic distances when you come over the hill.

Joe F.

Thu, Mar 21, 2013 : 1:03 a.m.

...or at least a caution light


Thu, Mar 21, 2013 : 1 a.m.

I live right near the scene and can actually still see the emergency vehicles from my back window. I arrived home moments before the crash happened. No black ice along that stretch. It's actually a bit of an odd location because the crash is just at Valley and that is at the bottom of the hill, so theoretically there should be decent visibility (it was still quite light out). My speculation would be that a driver going south on Hewitt attempted to turn left onto Valley and whoever was going north wasn't paying attention (or the turning driver turned in front of them too quickly). I am always EXTREMELY careful turning on and off Midvale as it is a tricky intersection. I am not convinced that a turn lane or reduced speed would make a difference.


Thu, Mar 21, 2013 : 1:04 a.m.

Now that I look at the photos again, I wonder if the driver wasn't trying to turn left into the church parking lot. That's farther up the hill.


Thu, Mar 21, 2013 : 12:58 a.m.

Fourth fatal, there was one yesterday morning on Austin Rd outside Manchester as well..


Thu, Mar 21, 2013 : 12:43 a.m.

Sympathies to all involved. This is becoming a daily occurrence in this area. Far too many auto deaths.


Thu, Mar 21, 2013 : 12:43 a.m.

Not only was the 19 year old killed there last fall, another person, this one a pedestrian, was killed during early morning hours only a couple of months before that. It just didn't make the news for some reason. My neighbor was up in the night and witnessed that one, and I woke up to the road closed for the accident investigation. This is the 3rd fatality in the same single block of roadway in the last year or less. It's getting hard to stay here, knowing that any of the regular fender-benders could end in a fatality in your front yard. And while the temp was cold, I didn't notice any ice on the roads in the neighborhood tonight. Just a very sad day. The thoughts and prayers of all in the neighborhood are with those suffering tonight. We always feel so helpless here, that we can do little more than bear witness.


Thu, Mar 21, 2013 : 3:35 a.m.

My husband saw the pedestrian in the street on his way home from a poker night in the early morning hours. By the time he got inside to call 911, the police had already arrived. We searched the news for weeks afterwards, but like you said, somehow that tragedy didn't make the news.


Thu, Mar 21, 2013 : 12:23 a.m.

I've driven that stretch 1000's of time and I can't figure out where the " blind hill " or a " blind curve is.Is facing north @Hewitt and Midvale that people are referring to ?


Thu, Mar 21, 2013 : 12:35 a.m.

This is the issue many times I think. No one realizes how big the hill and curve there are. I live near that intersection, and have to keep a very close eye when turning off of Hewitt, as the hill can hide several cars, even though it doesn't look that steep. If I just drove straight through and never had to cross the road there, I would never notice how short the sight distance is.

Sara 'Noel' Feldkamp

Thu, Mar 21, 2013 : 12:30 a.m.

the blind hill is right by the Romanian church in both directions. people going south curve to the left and people going north curve to the right


Thu, Mar 21, 2013 : 12:18 a.m.

The green vehicle is a Jeep Cherokee, made from 1988 to 2001. That one looks to be from the 1999-2001 series. The car appears to be a Pontiac Grand Prix. Not sure of the year but looks to be an '04+.

Ann English

Thu, Mar 21, 2013 : 12:16 a.m.

Looking at the photo again, it appears that a white sheet is draped over the sedan, giving the impression that the woman was in that passenger car, so the man was in the SUV, whatever make and model it is. Still can't figure out from the photo what happened moments before the collision. Falling temperatures creating some black ice? Certainly not Daylight Saving Time; look how light the skies were at the time of the crash, on a north-south road.


Thu, Mar 21, 2013 : 12:44 a.m.

One more thing: the passenger side is an air bag. The white sheet is on the drivers side of the Pontiac.


Thu, Mar 21, 2013 : 12:42 a.m.

She's using abductive reasoning actually, not deductive.


Thu, Mar 21, 2013 : 12:41 a.m.

Sherlock? It's so obviously a Jeep, which has been pointed out several times.


Thu, Mar 21, 2013 : 12:38 a.m.

I wonder why this comment got negative votes. Was it because it was trying to figure out what happened by using deductive reasoning as opposed to saying something like "my thoughts go out to the family" type of comment?

Ann English

Thu, Mar 21, 2013 : 12:04 a.m.

I wonder if that larger vehicle is a Ford Explorer. Just hoping the driver wasn't one of my former coworkers.


Thu, Mar 21, 2013 : 12:12 a.m.

The green vehicle is a Jeep Cherokee, made from 1988 to 2001. That one looks to be from the 1999-2001 series. The car appears to be a Pontiac Grand Prix. Not sure of the year but looks to be an '04+.


Wed, Mar 20, 2013 : 11:52 p.m.

"It is the third fatal crash in Washtenaw County this week." They say tragedies always happen in threes......hopefully this means we're done with having them for a bit.

Sara 'Noel' Feldkamp

Wed, Mar 20, 2013 : 11:51 p.m.

I was heading home from school and passed this accident shortly after it happened (maybe 5 minutes tops). The ambulance was just getting there, and shortly after the cops arrived. It was horrible to look at. My thoughts and prayers are going out to those involved in the wreck. I hope the other driver makes it and may the lady RIP.


Wed, Mar 20, 2013 : 11:46 p.m.

When heading north toward Valley, you're going downhill along with a blind curve so people tend to pick up speed. I drive this route every day and take special care to slow down in case I come upon anyone turning or pulling out of their driveway.


Wed, Mar 20, 2013 : 11:40 p.m.

"A 19-year-old Ypsilanti Township man died in a car accident near the same intersection last November." Did they ever release any results in the investigation of that accident?

Gretchen Ridenour

Thu, Mar 21, 2013 : 4:48 a.m.

I'm not sure about the investigation. But the woman involved in this accident is still rehabilitating from her orthopedic injuries and is still months away from recovering enough to return to work.

needed perspective

Wed, Mar 20, 2013 : 11:39 p.m.

Hewitt at Valley is 4 lane roadway with a blind hill, on a curve with a 45 mph speed limit. It is the most dangerous 1/4 mile of roadway in the county. It should be a two lane with an open middle lane and the speed limit should be 35. I also take this strip on the outside lane when I can.


Thu, Mar 21, 2013 : 4:16 a.m.

Blind curves are common roadway occurances and safe if folks stay in their lanes. My concern is why did these vehicles collided head on. Even at 50 or 60mph a driver should be able to avoid hitting on coming traffic should they not? It would seem that "paying attention to driving" rather than speed or blind curves are the issue and no one can fix that except drivers.


Thu, Mar 21, 2013 : 2:29 a.m.

Sometimes doing something can make things worse. I am not familiar with this stretch so I don't know. But changes just for change is not the answer most of the time.

needed perspective

Thu, Mar 21, 2013 : 1:07 a.m.

doing something is better than doing nothing...

Craig Lounsbury

Wed, Mar 20, 2013 : 11:48 p.m.

Looking at the picture I don't think your suggestion would have mattered in this particular case.


Wed, Mar 20, 2013 : 11:42 p.m.

I question if traffic density in that area would make it more dangerous to convert it to a 3 lane though... Also....even when it was 35 people still went 50...


Wed, Mar 20, 2013 : 11:36 p.m.

"It is the" I think you accidentally a word or two...


Thu, Mar 21, 2013 : 11:17 a.m.

Likewise you also 'a word or two'. Nicely done.

Craig Lounsbury

Wed, Mar 20, 2013 : 11:33 p.m.

prayers to family and friends and hoping the injured party has a full recovery.


Wed, Mar 20, 2013 : 11:20 p.m.

I wish the speed limit on that road would be changed back to 35 mph. It was a dangerous stretch even then.


Thu, Mar 21, 2013 : 1:59 a.m.

I think we'd need to know more about the cause of this crash before determining that it was caused by a high speed limit. Based on the photographs of the scene, speed is not a factor that immediately comes to mind.


Thu, Mar 21, 2013 : 12:14 a.m.

@Billy, that may be too cynical a view. I probably am in the minority, but I pretty much travel whatever the speed limit is. Lowering the speed limit to 35 MPH would result in me, for one, traveling very close to 35 MPH.


Wed, Mar 20, 2013 : 11:37 p.m.

All that would do is mean people would break the speed limit by a greater margin. Changing the sign back to 35 wouldn't make the traffic that goes through that area slow down.

John Counts

Wed, Mar 20, 2013 : 10:51 p.m.

The photo was initially loaded incorrectly and was immediately fixed.