PINCONNING TOWNSHIP (WWJ) – Michigan State Police say two people are dead and two people are clinging to life, including a 4-month-old baby, following a wrong-way crash on I-75 in Bay County.
The crash happened just after 5 p.m. Tuesday on southbound I-75 near Cody Estey Road in Pinconning Township.
Authorities say a 38-year-old Jessica Leitner, of Bay City, was driving her Chevy Impala northbound in the southbound lanes when she struck a Buick.
“We’ve got witnesses that tell us this vehicle was actually driving with the flow of traffic southbound on I-75, but it then done a U-turn on the freeway and began traveling northbound,” Michigan State Police Lt. David Kaiser told WWJ’s Beth Fisher. “There were several vehicles that were able to avoid this vehicle, however it did eventually strike another vehicle head-on.”
Leitner received fatal injuries and was declared dead on the scene. Her 4-month-old son, Jordan Leitner, received life-threatening injuries and was rushed to a hospital in critical condition.
“I can tell you the 4-month-old little boy was not properly secured in a child restraint seat,” said Kaiser, ” and because of that, that contributed to a lot of his injuries.”
The 83-year-old driver of the other vehicle, George Garske, was also taken to a hospital with critical injuries. His 54-year-old daughter, Ann Garske, received fatal injuries in the crash and was declared dead at the scene.
“The actual traffic crash remains under investigation and we’ve got a lot of work to do on this to determine a cause,” said Kaiser.
Investigators “have suspicions” that drugs or alcohol might have played a role in the crash, Kaiser said, but they’re awaiting toxicology results for confirmation.
“This crash, it’s tragic — especially over the holiday season,” he said.
An investigation is ongoing.