5 injured in 5-car pile-up

October 31, 2014

By Pat Maurer

A Sunday morning crash on West Remus Road (M-20) just west of Vandecar ended up involving five vehicles and sending five people to the hospital with injuries.

Isabella County Sheriff Leo Mioduszewski said deputies responded to the crash I Deerfield Township of Isabella County at 9:34 a.m.
Reportedly a westbound 2000 Chevrolet Monte Carlo driven by Joe Balknight, 19, of Big Rapids crossed the center line hitting a 2004 eastbound Pontiac Grand Am driven by Chelsea Smith, 24 of Stanton. Balknight’s car continued west in the wrong lane and next hit a 2010 Mercury Milan driven by Jessica Kohn, 43 of Caledonia.

A fourth vehicle, a 2010 Acadia driven by Nyles Billips, 41 of Caledonia, also eastbound, pulled over in an effort to avoid a crash, but ended up also being hit by Balknight’s car. The fifth vehicle, a 2008 Hyundai Santa Fe driven by Erin Gravelyn, 47 of Grand Rapids, ran off the road to avoid the collision and into a ditch, sustaining undercarriage damage to her vehicle.

Balknight and one passenger Delano Brown were flown to Covenant Hospital and St. Mary’s in Saginaw, both with suspected head injuries. Balknight was flown out directly from the crash scene and Brown was flown from McLaren-Central Michigan.

A back seat passenger in Balknight’s vehicle was taken by Mobile Medical Response to McLaren – Central Michigan for pain and precautionary measures.
Nyles Billips and his wife Telimma Billips were also transported to McLaren-Central Michigan by MMR for complaints of pain. Neither of their two children was injured.

Chelsea Smith, Jessica Kohn and her daughter Macayla Kohn received minor injuries and refused treatment.

Police said restraints were used and alcohol did not appear to be a factor in the accident. They were assisted at the scene by the Deerfield Fire Department, Michigan State Police, Fremont Township Rescue, Saginaw Chippewa Tribal Police, MMR and LifeNet.

The accident is still under investigation, the release said.

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