FRENCHTOWN TWP. (WWJ) – Police in Monroe County are trying to determine if road rage led to a fatal accident on I-75 overnight.

Sgt. Geoffrey Kovenich said the accident happened on southbound I-75 just south of Nadeau Road late Tuesday night.

The victim, identified as 69-year-old John Mercurio Sr. of Belleville, was a rear-seat passenger in a full-size red Dodge pickup that was pulling a classic car on a trailer. The driver was Mercurio’s son, 48-year-old John Mercurio Jr., who was apparently having issues with the driver of a silver Dodge pickup.

At some point, police say the silver truck rear ended the trailer on the red pickup, causing the Mercurio Jr. to lose control of his vehicle and strike a guard rail. Investigators say Mercurio Sr. was ejected from the vehicle and was then run over by the silver pickup. He was pronounced dead on the scene.

Police say the two drivers apparently didn’t know each other, but began having some sort of problem on I-275, which escalated when they reached I-75. Mercurio Jr. told investigators he had been trying to get away from the silver truck. Police questioned and released the driver of the silver pickup, identified as 56-year-old John Zabawa of Luna Pier.

The trailer containing the classic car, a white Dodge, dislodged and ended up on the shoulder about 100 yards ahead of the accident scene.

Police said three other vehicles were involved in a secondary crash. The freeway was closed for hours as police investigated and crews repaired damage to the median guard rail.

An investigation is ongoing.


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