According to the Michigan State Police, 29 people died on Michigan roadways since Oct. 22 for a total of 928. In addition, 118 more were seriously injured for a statewide total of 4,740 to date. Compared to last year at this time there are 86 more fatalities and 373 more serious injuries.
Construction on U.S. 23 entrances, exits, overpasses, bridges throughout the Fenton area began in the spring. The reconstruction of Silver Lake Road near U.S. 23, resulted in more highway and secondary road crashes. Oftentimes there was gridlock on Silver Lake Road, Poplar Street, North Road and the roundabout at Torrey Road because motorists could not enter southbound U.S. 23 at North Road and were detoured to enter the highway from Silver Lake Road.
One of the latest crashes occurred at 2:23 a.m., Monday, Nov. 1. Fenton City responded to an unknown rollover crash on southbound U.S. 23 between Silver Lake and Owen roads. A Chevrolet truck had left the roadway and rolled. Injuries were unknown. Lt. Jeff Cross of the Fenton Police Department said the driver sustained non-life threatening injuries. The driver, who was intoxicated, crawled out of the vehicle and swam across a detention pond where he was located by police.
One recent crash that occurred in the Fenton area resulted in the death of Timothy White, 70, of Holly, on Oct. 11. This crash occurred on northbound U.S. 23 just south of Fenton in Tyrone Township. White’s truck was rear-ended while he was stopped in construction traffic. Livingston County Sheriff Mike Murphy said distracted driving of the at-fault driver was the likely cause of the crash.
On Oct. 5, a 41-year-old Linden man was seriously injured in a crash on northbound U.S. 23, north of Center Road in Tyrone Township, when his pickup truck crashed into the back of a semi that was stopped in construction traffic.
The Times reached out to local law enforcement and fire departments to look at stats beginning April 1 to Oct. 28. They were asked for the number of crashes on U.S. 23 throughout Tyrone Township beginning at approximately Center Road to the south and through Fenton Township and north of Thompson Road to the north.
Murphy obtained data from Amy Pasienza, the deputy director of Livingston County 911. County records show that from April 1 to last week, Livingston County 911 were notified of 36 automobile crashes on either southbound or northbound U.S. 23, in the area of White Lake Road in Tyrone Township. These crashes were property damage only and no injuries.
The Livingston County records show that in this same time period, they were notified of 14 personal injury crashes on U.S. 23 near White Lake Road. The majority were in the northbound lanes. They noted an extrication on Sept. 1 at 5:03 p.m.
Livingston County also responded to 11 other crashes on U.S. 23, with the majority in the northbound lanes, heading toward Fenton.
Cross said police officers responded to 501 crashes since April 1 and 106 of those were on U.S. 23. These crashes typically did not require the services of the fire department.
Fenton Fire Chief Bob Cairnduff said the city’s fire department responded to 19 crashes, with injuries, on U.S. 23, from April 1 to Oct. 28. Fourteen of those crashes occurred in Tyrone Township and five occurred within city limits. Fire departments only respond if there are injuries, an entrapment, rolled over vehicles or if there is an environmental cleanup needed.
Cairnduff said, “The trend we have seen is near White Lake Road northbound where the backup tends to start. Almost all are incidents of distracted drivers — distracted by phone, ‘looked down for a moment’ or ‘I looked up and traffic was stopped,’ etc.”
Fenton Township Fire Chief Ryan Volz said road construction is always dreaded every April until November in Michigan.
“We have had compared to last year 18 more U.S. 23 crashes with the majority of them including semi trucks or commercial vehicles,” he said. “Our crashes on the secondary roads that outline U.S. 23 have gone up by 15 crashes as well.”
Volz said the average time of crashes occur between 8 a.m. and noon, and then 4 to 7 p.m. He noted that the weekends are not as bad.
“People just need to allow themselves more commute time and spend less time with phones and other devices that would distract their driving,” he said.