ST. CLAIR COUNTY (WWJ) – Two people are dead following a crash between a SUV and semi-truck in Fort Gratiot in St Clair County.
Police tell WWJ in a statement that a Ford Explorer driven by 15-year-old Jarrod Robert Smith, who had a learner’s permit, was driving eastbound on Burtch Road about 3:30 p.m. Thursday with his 52-year-old mother, Karen Kay Smith, and 21-year-old sister, Kaitlyn Smith.
Witnesses say the family’s car stopped at the sign, then turned left into the path of a semi-truck that was southbound on Lakeshore Road (M-25). After the initial impact, the car and semi continued on and crashed into a sign for Duffy’s Tavern, located on the southeast corner of the intersection. The car and semi also struck a car parked in the lot.
St. Clair County Sheriff Tim Donnellon said Jarrod and his mother, who was sitting in the front passenger seat, were “killed instantly.” Kaitlyn Smith, who was in the back seat, was transported by Tri-Hospital EMS to Port Huron Hospital, where she was treated and released for minor injuries.
Police say the family, from Wixom, was headed to Lakeport State Park to go camping. The driver of the semi-truck, a 72-year-old man from Almont, was checked at the scene but refused treatment.
Neither alcohol nor drugs are believed to be a factor in the crash, which remains under investigation.