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Saranac Truck Crash is First Fatal Crash at Dangerous Intersection


A truck crash involving two semi-trucks and a pickup truck near Saranac, Michigan, has left one man dead and sent two people to the hospital with serious injuries. Although crashes are common at the intersection where the accident occurred, this is the first fatal truck crash.

Two Semis and a Pickup Involved in Michigan Truck Accident

The fatal Saranac truck crash occurred around 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday, April 5, 2017, at the intersection of M-21 and Hawley Highway. A pickup truck traveling southbound pulled into the path of an oncoming westbound semi-truck. The semi-truck, which was carrying two trailers full of wheat, swerved to avoid the collision, and crossed into the eastbound lane, hitting a different semi-truck that was heading southbound head-on. One of the trailers of grain overturned in the crash, and its load scattered across the road.

Roger Kimble lives at the corner of the intersection and witnessed the Saranac truck crash.

“Well, this is a dangerous corner and it has been for years,” Kimble said when speaking with Fox17. “Basically just what happened this lady in the red pickup truck came down the hill and when you come down the hill to stop at this stop sign you can’t see anything coming from the east.”

Photos of the accident scene show wheat strewn across the intersection and a crumpled semi-truck.

First responders to the accident scene included the Michigan State Police, Ionia County Sheriff’s Office, Life EMS, and Saranac Fire.

Hudsonville Man Killed in Saranac Truck Crash

It was the driver of the semi-truck traveling east who was killed in the Saranac truck crash. Forty-seven-year-old Anthony Nunez, a resident of nearby Hudsonville, was traveling in the commercial semi-truck when he was hit head-on by the semi-truck that was trying to maneuver out of a crash with the pickup truck.

While an Ionia County Sheriff’s deputy confirmed Nunez’s death, no other details were released on the matter.

Lisa Thrush, a 40-year-old-resident of Saranac, was the driver of the pickup truck involved in the Saranac truck crash and was traveling with her 18-year-old son, Hunter Thrush-Davis. Both were taken to the hospital with serious, but non-life-threatening, injuries.

The driver of the semi-truck that was hauling wheat—and the truck that hit Nunez’ truck head-on—was Trevor Vanderwall, a 34-year-old resident of Hemlock, Michigan. Vanderwall sustained no injuries in the truck crash.

Road Closure, Power Outages After Truck Accident

Officials closed the intersection following the crash by blocking off traffic to any area between Pinckney and Johnson Roads. That section of road would not reopen until 10:00 p.m. that evening—nearly 12 hours after the Saranac truck crash.

During the crash, utility lines were also knocked down, and the resulting outage left around 750 Consumers Energy customers powerless. By 4:15 p.m., however, power had been restored to all customers.

The Ionia County Sheriff’s Department continues to investigate the crash.

Crashes Common at Intersection

The intersection of M-21 and Hawley Highway is known for crashes, with residents deeming it to be a dangerous area. The Michigan Traffic Crash Facts website indicates that 19 crashes have occurred within 150 feet of the intersection between January of 2010 and December of 2015 (the most recent data available). According to the site, however, there were no fatal crashes.

In 2015, again the most recent year with data available, the Michigan State Police Criminal Justice Information Center records show four fatal crashes in Ionia County out of the 1,542 total crashes that took place.

Fiery Semi-Truck Crash Five Days Later in Hasting Michigan

In the week following the Saranac truck crash, another semi-truck crash took place not far away in Hastings, Michigan, about 30 minutes north of the Ionia County crash.

The accident occurred on M-37 south of Hastings at approximately 1:15 p.m. According to the Barry County Sheriff’s Office, a Ford Escape traveling north had stopped to let a vehicle turn left onto a private drive. A Ford Econoline cargo van traveling behind the Escape was unable to stop in time, rear-ending the driver’s side of the vehicle in front of it before veering farther into the southbound lane.

It was in the southbound lane that the van collided with an oncoming semi-truck before both vehicles caught fire. Fortunately, the drivers were able to escape before the fires began. By the time crews were able to extinguish the blaze, both vehicles were badly burned, with the crumpled van blackened almost completely.

No injuries were sustained by the driver of the Escape or his wife, and the semi-truck driver was also unscathed. The driver of the van, however, was hospitalized for his injuries, despite being conscious and responsive at the scene of the accident.

Officials shut down M-37 traffic in the area in both directions following the crash, reopening one lane approximately 45 minutes later, and reopening all lanes by about 4:15 p.m.

The Barry County Sheriff’s Office has an ongoing investigation into the crash.

Truck Accident Attorney

The law firm of Baum Hedlund Aristei & Goldman is experienced at handling truck accident investigations and litigation and is committed to helping victims of truck accidents. Contact us if you or a loved one has been harmed in a truck crash. Our attorneys are available to discuss your legal options.



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