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Family Seeks Answers After Woman Dies Following Crash On Detour From Fire

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DETROIT (WWJ/AP) - A family is seeking answers after an 88-year-old Livonia woman died after being found on the ground following an apparent car crash in Detroit.

Lorraine McKaig died at a hospital after being found Wednesday on Detroit’s east side.

Family members told the Detroit Free Press that McKaig was a creature of habit who drove about five miles from her home each day to a restaurant for a meal. However, things went differently the day she died.

Relatives say McKaig left her home at 6 Mile and Farmington roads on her usual route to Daly Restaurant, located on Plymouth Road near Merriman Road. Earlier Wednesday, a massive fire broke out at an environmental recycling plant on Merriman Road, between Schoolcraft and Plymouth roads. By the time McKaig was nearby the restaurant, officials had closed Merriman Road to traffic as firefighters continued to battle the blaze.

(Credit: Bill Szumanski/WWJ Newsradio 950)

Fire broke out at a recycling plant along I-96, creating a plume of smoke that could be seen for miles. (Credit: Bill Szumanski/WWJ Newsradio 950)

Around 2 p.m., a Livonia police officer ticketed McKaig for trying to drive through a barricaded section of Merriman Road. Lt. Tom Goralski said the officer gave McKaig an alternative route to the restaurant before sending her on her way.

Family members began to worry after McKaig didn’t return home and shortly after 4 p.m., they filed a missing persons report. About six hours later, Detroit police were notified that a vehicle matching the description of McKaig’s had crashed into a gate at City Airport, near Conner and Outer Drive in Detroit — nearly 22 miles away from where she was supposed to be.

Police arrived at the crash site and found the vehicle, which was locked with the keys inside, but no sign of McKaig. Michigan State Police responded to the scene with a K9 unit, which eventually led officers to the front of a fire station where McKaig was found, alive, lying on the ground. She was rushed to the hospital where she later died. An official cause of death has not been released.

Sue Modzelewski, one of McKaig’s three daughters, believes police may have turned her mother in the wrong direction.

“It’s very disappointing that the police didn’t make sure she got home OK,” Modzelewski told the Free Press. “We’re just trying to handle things, to figure it all out. We’re just upset that she’s gone and the manner that she left us.”

Gorlaski said the officer who wrote the ticket acted appropriately.

“There was no indication to the officer of (an) issue with the lady. If there was, the officer would have acted accordingly,” he said.

TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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