Ann Arbor Firefighter Hit, Killed On I-696

FARMINGTON HILLS (WWJ) – Police say an Ann Arbor firefighter was changing a tire when he was struck and killed on I-696 in Farmington Hills Thursday morning.

Michigan State Police told Newsradio 950 WWJ the victim, a 41-year-old Bloomfield Township man, was trying to change a flat tire on a car parked on the shoulder of westbound I-696 near Farmington Road, when he was hit by a passing vehicle around 6:30 a.m.

The victim has been identified as Daniel Armitage, a father of three.

ped fatal 010512 002 Ann Arbor Firefighter Hit, Killed On I 696

Police investigate accident (WWJ Photo/Ron Dewey)

WWJ spoke with Ann Arbor Fire Chief Chuck Hubbard who said Armitage had been with the department for 16 years and was on his way to being promoted to lieutenant. He called Armitage’s death a “huge, huge loss” for his fellow firefighters.

“We come to work on a daily basis knowing that that could be our last day, but when something happens off-duty like that you just don’t plan for that. You don’t even think about that,” Hubbard said. “He’s a young man, you know. His whole future was in front of him. It’s just awful.”

Trooper Mark Tinney said after the initial crash there was a second crash. He said Armitage was struck several times by passing cars.

“Probably after or at the same time, it looks like it was an accident caused by vehicles avoiding some of the debris, maybe avoiding what was going on, moved over to the left and this vehicle lost control trying to avoid another vehicle,” said Tinney.

That vehicle struck the median wall, sending a man and two children to the hospital with minor injuries.

Dwayne Gillenn who works at a business just off the freeway said it was a gruesome scene. He was arriving to work when he heard the screeching of tires and rushed to the perimeter fence where he saw the carnage.

“It’s a sight I’m never going to forget, I can tell you that,” Gillenn told WWJ Newsradio 950’s Ron Dewey. “I don’t know if the person was talking on the phone or texting or just driving too fast, who knows those things you know, but I can tell you this, they shouldn’t have been doing whatever they were doing.”

Police are looking for the public’s help in piecing together exactly what happened. As of Thursday afternoon, no one had been charged related to the incident.

“We need anybody who might have seen the accident or was in the area at the time to help us with some information. We need to talk to anybody who might have been involved, saw anything, or who might have run over something in the road, might have thought it was something else, we need to talk to them,” said Tinney.

Anyone with information is asked to call Michigan State Police at (248) 584-5740.

Westbound I-696 past Northwestern Highway was closed for a few hours but has since reopened

For the latest from the roads, stay with WWJ Newsradio 950 during Traffic and Weather on the 8s, 24-hours a day. Check for recent traffic incidents now by visiting our Traffic Page.

More from Ron Dewey
  • MilleArp

    Slowing down won’t make one bit of difference if you’re texting or otherwise distracted. The BMW was obviously OFF the road, whoever hit the tire-changer was NOT paying attention.
    Speed played no part here.

  • anonymous anonymous

    What happened to getting over into the next lane when there is a person outside a vehicle on the side of the road, or someone pulled over. its a courtesy that saves lives, even if it makes you 5 minutes late to work to merge during morning traffic. this accident is inexcusable, and boils down to simply not paying attention to driving and to your surroundings. loss of life isnt worth a text, work a phone call, or worth speeding. pay attention people.

  • Carl

    I’m just seeing so much more aggression and lack of consideration on the roads these days. It seems so many people are off in their own world in every aspect of their lives or feel like they have to rush everywhere; things as simple as using your turn signal or thanking someone when they let you in I’m seeing less and less of. Relax people, loss of life isn’t worth it.

  • Griffin

    just love how someone makes an assumption. Then it becomes fact. State Police said the diver was trying to avoid debris in the road…nothing at all about texting or talking on the phone.
    My prayers go out to all the families. Lets not assume

  • Stacey

    No the 2nd accident was caused that way not the first one that killed him :(

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  • Jesska

    I drove through the scene this morning on my way to work. It was right after it happened. It was so awful and gruesome. My prayers are with the family and everyone involved.

  • Rick

    They report the victims name but not the drivers name. That is what I despise about reporters they never give the full story.

    • not available

      From what I was lead to believe the inital driver who hit the man did not stop after doing so and fled the scence of the accident. I do not know if the driver was found yet or had turned themselves into the police, but I can not imagine having to live with guilt by not turning yourself in. Such a sad story, and sad loss :(

      • Rick Williams

        Unless I am missing something the story does not mention this as being a hit and run. Either way it would not be too hard for a good reporter to find out the names of all other drivers involved.

  • mfusinski

    Hi Rick. The names of drivers involved have not been released. The driver who first hit the man did not stop at the scene. If someone is charged, police will release that person’s name and WWJ/ will report it. The investigation is ongoing.

  • Judy

    The man who was killed was a young relative or ours who was a very devoted family man. Danny had a wonderful wife and three darling little boys. What a big, big loss. If you know anyone who drives too fast, talks on the cell phone, texting or is lacking sleep, please tell them not to drive. Someone wasted a precious life which was only beginning at age 41. He was always helping others, maybe even changing their tires.

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