Driver Going Too Fast For Snowy Conditions Blamed For Fatal I-96 Pileup In Fowlerville; Charges Sought

FOWLERVILLE, Mich. (WWJ/AP) – Investigators say a driver traveling too fast for conditions on snow-slickened I-96 in Fowlerville caused a December pileup that left three people dead.

Livingston County sheriff’s officials say that they anticipate seeking a charge of reckless driving or moving violation causing death against the driver, who is identified as a Howell resident.

The county prosecutor’s office would decide the charges, but Prosecutor William Vailliencourt declined to speculate on whether such action would be taken.

Fifty-three vehicles were involved in the Dec. 8 pileup, about 55 miles west of Detroit. Three people were killed in the crash: 69-year-old Homer Leon Tew and his 62-year-old wife Theresa O’Connor Tew of Ann Arbor, as well as 28-year-old semi-truck driver Vitalii Stelmakh of Hollywood, Florida.

In addition to the fatalities, 11 people were hurt in what Livingston County Sheriff’s  Lt. Eric Sanborn said it was “the worst accident (he’d) ever seen.” The crash had the westbound lanes of the freeway shut down for nearly 13 hours.

Rescue crews struggled to reach both victims and survivors, several of whom had to be extradited from their vehicles.

Immediately after the crash, officials said ice on the roadway and whiteout conditions were believed to be factors.

TM and © Copyright 2017 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2017 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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.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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