MACOMB COUNTY (WWJ) — Investigators in Macomb County say alcohol may have been a factor in a high-speed crash that injured two and killed three Utica Community high school students on Friday.
Investigators now say open alcohol containers were discovered in the vehicle that was traveling at a “high rate of speed” on May 8 before it broke through a guardrail and rolled into the Stoney Creek River.READ MORE: Recovery Advocates Support Opioid Crisis Investment; Gov. Whitmer Approves $800 Million For Programs
Macomb County Sheriff Anthony Wickersham said that it will likely take a couple of weeks to get toxicology results back.
“Our evidence technicians went through the vehicle and did discover some open alcohol containers and alcohol inside the vehicle,” Wickersham said. “Alcohol may have been a possible factor, but we can’t say definitively due to the fact that we don’t have any toxicology reports from any of the occupants of the vehicle.”
Of the two surviving teens, one is said to now be hospitalized in fair condition at Henry Ford Hospital in Clinton Township, while the other remains in critical condition.
There were five young men in the vehicle at the time of the crash. Four of the five passengers were ejected from the vehicle. The front seat passenger was not ejected.
Three of the men were killed in the crash — Jonathan Manolios, 17, of Sterling Heights, Emanuel Malaj, 17, of Sterling Heights and Michael Wells, 17, of Macomb Township.READ MORE: Science of Weather: Brightmoor Flower Farm
“Toxicology from the medical examiner’s office usually takes three or four weeks,” Wickersham said. “Information from those who are currently in the hospital require some court search warrants to acquire that.”
Sterling Heights mayor Michael Taylor called the accident a “terrible tragedy.”
“I wish there was something I could do, I wish there was something the city of Sterling Heights could do and I want them to know that there are 130,000 people mourning with them,” Taylor said. “Our thoughts and our prayers are with them and if there’s anything that we can do we want them to know that they can reach out to us. We will do anything we can to help during this very, very difficult time.”
Investigators have still not determined with any certainty which of the teens was driving the 2008 Jaguar that night.
“We had one individual — one of the survivors — which was actually the passenger in the front seat and he was belted in,” Wickersham said. “The other four individuals were ejected from the vehicle.”
Meantime, visitation has been set for Malaj on Wednesday from 1 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Wasik Funeral Home in Shelby Township.MORE NEWS: Live updates: 14 students, 1 teacher killed after shooter opens fire at Texas elementary school
Funeral services for Manolios will be held at 10 a.m. Thursday at St. John Greek Orthodox Church in Sterling Heights. Visitation will be held 2 p.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesday at Wujek-Calcaterra & Sons in Sterling Heights.