2017-12-06 / Front Page

One killed, two critically injured in crash

Driver sped away from sheriff’s deputies in pursuit
BY PHIL FOLEY
810-452-2616 • pfoley@mihomepaper.com


The remains of a Ford pickup driven by Tyler M. Caron, 22, of Flint are barely recognizable after slamming into two pine trees in Marathon Township Friday night. 
Photo courtesy LapeerCounty Sheriff’s Dept. The remains of a Ford pickup driven by Tyler M. Caron, 22, of Flint are barely recognizable after slamming into two pine trees in Marathon Township Friday night. Photo courtesy LapeerCounty Sheriff’s Dept. MARATHON TWP. — One Flint man died and two more were left critically injured Friday night after they sped away from Lapeer County Sheriff’s Dept. deputies at more than twice the posted speed limit in Columbiaville.

It was the second police chase involving sheriff’s deputies in less than two weeks ending with a death. Oakland County Sheriff’s Dept. Deputy Eric Overall, 50, died Nov. 23 when he was struck by a Saturn Ion, reportedly driven by Christopher Berak, 22, of Macomb Township, who was being chased by sheriff’s deputies and a Metamora Township police officer.

Sheriff Scott McKenna said Tyler M. Caron, 22, died and his two companions, Tyler McCallister, 22; and MicKenzie Wilson, 19, were critically injured Friday after the 1999 Ford extended cab pickup they were in slammed into a group of pine trees in a Marathon Township front yard on LeValley Road.


Two were critically injured and one person died when their truck collided with a group of pine trees in a Marathon Township front yard. 
Photo courtesy Lapeer County Sheriff’s Dept. Two were critically injured and one person died when their truck collided with a group of pine trees in a Marathon Township front yard. Photo courtesy Lapeer County Sheriff’s Dept. McKenna said two of his deputies were on patrol on westbound LeValley Road about 10:52 p.m. when they passed a pickup eastbound near the ballfields on the outskirts of Columbiaville. They clocked the vehicle on radar going 54 mph in a 25-mph zone.

He said as soon as the driver of the pickup spotted the patrol car “he punched it” and by the time the patrol car turned around, the pickup was nearly out of sight.

McKenna said deputies believe the truck was traveling at close to 100 mph as it sped away. He believes investigators will be able to confirm that, if the truck was equipped with a black box.

Auto manufacturers began installing event data recorders (EDRs) in some models as early as 1994. McKenna said investigators are trying to determine if Ford pickups were among them.

“There’s nothing (the deputies) could have done differently,” McKenna said of what should have been a routine traffic stop. He noted his officers didn’t turn on their emergency lights until they approached the Klam Road intersection.

By the time deputies got to the Klam Road intersection, McKenna said, the suspects were nearly out of sight.

He noted the suspects ran the stop signs at Klam and Peters roads and were traveling at or close to 100 mph before deputies got to Klam Road. “The hard part is,” McKenna said, “my guys were safe about this. They weren’t pushing it.”

Shortly after going through the Peters Road intersection, McKenna said deputies drove through a cloud of dust and one of them saw debris on the road. They turned around and found the truck in a Marathon Township man’s front yard.

The truck had sheared one large pine tree off at the ground before wrapping itself around a second. He said the engine and transmission separated from the truck and landed 50 yards east of the crash scene.

“They rocked that tree,” McKenna said.

Kim Goldorf, a Marathon First Responder, said she didn’t think anyone had survived when she first arrived on scene. She said Marathon Township Fire Dept. firefighters had to use the Jaws of Life to cut McCallister and Wilson free of the wreckage.

McKenna said wreckers had to be used to pull the truck off the tree to get to Caron, the driver, who was dead at the scene. He said McCallister, the front seat passenger was unconscious and Wilson, who was in a jump seat in the extended cab pickup, was asking where his girlfriend was.

Deputies initially began looking for a fourth victim, but discovered the girlfriend had been dropped off at a house in Flint 45 minutes earlier.

McKenna said deputies don’t know what the trio was doing in the Columbiaville area, but the truck is registered to McCallister’s grandfather who lives near where they were first seen.

The sheriff said deputies found bongs, other drug paraphernalia, suspected marijuana and a bag of a white powdery substance believed to be cocaine in the truck.

Wilson, the only one able to speak to deputies at the crash scene, reportedly told deputies that when McCallister saw the patrol car he told them, “Go, go, go, I’ve got warrants.”

Deputies later learned McCallister was being sought by Genesee County authorities on a criminal bench warrant for aggravated assault.

McKenna said his deputies, who he would not identify, “did everything right, with a horrible end result.”

He said the homeowner at the crash scene, about a mile-and-a-quarter from where deputies first encountered the pickup, told him he had just gone to bed when he heard the crash and when he came outside, the police siren seemed to be still a quarter-mile away.

McKenna was already reviewing the department’s pursuit policy in the wake of the Overall fatality, which took place in Brandon Township after a 22-mile long pursuit at posted speeds.

In both cases, he said, “I don’t see where they did anything procedurally wrong.”

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