MILFORD TWP. (WWJ) – Police say the driver of a tractor-pulled hayride that tipped over, sending nine people to the hospital, was drinking alcohol prior to the accident.
The incident occurred around 5:30 p.m. Sunday at Camp Dearborn in Milford Township. Sixteen people were on the hayride when the trailer overturned as the 27-year-old driver attempted to make left-hand turn, throwing everyone to the ground.
According to a police report obtained by Observer & Eccentric, the driver admitted to drinking alcohol in the hours before the accident.
The man told police he drank an alcoholic beverage on his lunch break at a local restaurant around 11:30 a.m. before returning to work. The man said he returned to the restaurant again around 2 p.m. and consumed more alcohol before returning to work at 4 p.m. According to the report, the man said he “was only drinking because it was his birthday,” and that he only drinks “off the clock.”
The report says a preliminary breath test administered at the scene revealed the man had a blood alcohol content of .06 percent. Michigan’s legal limit is .08.
Police say the 16 riders were associated with the Henry Ford Community College Support Staff Association, which had arranged for the group hayride. After the accident, nine adults were transported to local hospitals with non-life threatening injuries. Other riders were treated at the scene.
Rider Laura Jo Lubeck said she “was screaming” and “terrified the whole time.”
“It was the scariest hayride I have ever been on. I was sitting on the middle bench and that bench broke from the wagon. I went flying out over my husband and others who were sitting against the higher wooden side of the wagon,” Lubeck said on Facebook.
“I landed face first hitting dirt a few times. Bruised from neck to ankle on my left side. I had a 4 and a 5-year-old grandchildren on that wagon that went flying out of their boots! My grown daughter got hit in the back of her head with the bench that broke. It was the scariest thing ever,” she said. “My husband was transported to the hospital in an ambulance and got checked out for a concussion. Some people broke collarbones, and others who I work with I am still not sure how they are. Broken bones and hurt children. Shame on the driver!”
Camp Dearborn, which is located in Milford Township but operated by the City of Dearborn, issued a notice on their Facebook page after the accident occurred.
The incident remains under investigation. No charges have been filed.