OSCODA – The investigation into a multiple-vehicle crash in Oscoda Township, which ended in two fatalities, is ongoing.
According to Oscoda Township Police Department (OTPD) Detective Sergeant Erik McNichol, as of late last week, the crash investigation is still open.
He advised that the OTPD is awaiting reports from the Michigan State Police (MSP) on the crash reconstruction, and are also waiting on reports from the pathologist, related to the autopsies of the victims.
Once these items are received – or possibly before, if it appears that there will be a lengthy delay – McNichol says the OTPD report will be sent to the Iosco County Prosecuting Attorney for review of potential criminal charges.
It should be noted that, at this point, no charges have been filed against anyone involved in the incident.
As recently reported, the crash occurred in a construction zone on US-23, just south of Oscoda Township, on Nov. 5.
All indications, McNichol said at the time, showed that the driver of a Goyette van and the driver of a GMC Envoy were each stopped for the flagger who was directing the one-way traffic during the construction – Shawn Kelley, 47, Hubbard Lake.
An approaching semi-truck, operated by Walter Willett, 83, Fairgrove, failed to stop for the northbound vehicles and struck the Envoy, which was driven by Jennifer Arocha, 39, Mikado.
McNichol says that the impact then pushed Envoy into the Goyette van. Kelley was hit by one, if not multiple vehicles, and ended up being carried with the vehicles until they came to a final resting position.
Kelley and Arocha were each killed during the crash, while the van driver was transported to the hospital and treated for minor injuries.
McNichol stated that Willett was taken to the hospital, as well, for both an evaluation and a blood draw.
Along with the crash itself, witnesses also described an explosion occurring when the semi collided with the first vehicle.
McNichol was the first officer on scene and he reported that, upon his arrival, both the semi-truck and the Envoy were heavily involved in fire.
Assisting the OTPD on the scene were personnel from the MSP, Iosco County EMS and the East Tawas, Oscoda Township and Tawas City fire departments.
With several miles of US-23 being closed for a good portion of the day during the clean-up and initial investigation, McNichol said that there were other area law enforcement agencies who weren’t at the crash site, but who aided with traffic control.
As more details become available, they will be provided in a future edition of this publication.