Neighbors react to fatal crash involving two semis on U.S. 12
BERRIEN COUNTY, Mich. - Neighbors who live close to U.S. 12, where a crash involving two semis resulted in the deaths of two people on Monday, say the crash sounded like a bomb going off, and now they’re saying accidents seem to be more and more common on the road.
Several neighbors, who’ve lived near U.S. 12 and Portage Road for decades, told ABC57 that while accidents have not been common, this semi-truck crash has been the worst one that’s happened here in their lifetimes.
Monday afternoon, an LP hauler was traveling eastbound when it crossed the median and entered into the westbound lane, crashing head-on into a tanker truck, according to reports.
The driver of the LP hauler, 35-year-old Christopher Deenan from Niles, was pronounced dead on scene.
Dustin Marshall, 46, from Osceola, was trapped inside the tanker truck.
Shane Masten, who lives on Portage near the accident, said he could hear Marshall calling for help from inside the tanker, and even went to check on him, though it would take an hour before first responders could pry him from the cab using the jaws of life.
Marshall was transported Memorial Hospital in South Bend, where he died of his injuries.
The LP hauler spilled liquid petroleum all over the roadway.
Michigan State Police had the road closed down until around 6 a.m. Tuesday morning.
Skip Kaiser, who’s lived near U.S. 12 since the 1970s, told ABC57 that accidents are not uncommon in this area.
“How many, I couldn’t tell you, but there’s been quite a few of them,” he said.
Kaiser worries that U.S. 12 is starting to become a little more dangerous, particularly near the U.S. 31 bypass.
“I kinda liked the old way it used to be where you just pulled out, like here on Mayflower Road, you pulled out, went across the westbound lane and moved on, instead of going out into the westbound lane and then having to come back on the eastbound lane," said Kaiser. "Since it’s been changed over to this Michigan turnaround thing, it’s been a lot worse there than what it’s been in the past. People pull out in front of people, and they have accidents.”
Michigan State Police say they are still working to determine what caused the fatal accident and say an autopsy will be conducted on Deenan to determine what may have caused him to cross the median and crash into Marshall.
They added that right now, they don’t believe a road study will need to be conducted to determine any safety issues on U.S. 12.