CATO TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) - Benjamine and Charlinda Lupien were on their way to her parents' house where he was going to have a recently acquired Ford Ranger inspected.
"It was new and it was something that he had just gotten on Friday," Charlinda Lupien told 24 Hour News 8 outside her parents' house in Howard City. "And he said it was OK to drive."
Her husband was driving the Ranger -- acquired when he traded a snowmobile for it -- while his wife trailed behind in a minivan. Inside the van with Charlinda was their 14-month-old son Kamren, and two of his stepdaughters.
Lupien, a 32-year-old from Lakeview, was driving east on M-46 near Satterlee Road in Cato Township when he lost control of the Ford Ranger and crossed the center line around 5 p.m. on Sept. 9.
The Ranger hit an oncoming Ford Flex, which had five occupants.
The head-on collision killed Lupien and Sondra Thering, the front-seat passenger in the Flex.
Along with Thering in the Flex were four other passengers -- including her two twins in the backseat. The twins' 13th birthday was Monday, and the group of five spent the weekend in Chicago. They were traveling back to the Mt. Pleasant area, Michigan State Police Sgt. Norma Naylor told 24 Hour News 8 Sunday night.
Thering's friend, Billie Curtiss, was driving the Flex. An emergency helicopter took her to Grand Rapids' Spectrum Health Butterworth Hospital. As of Monday afternoon, Curtiss improved to fair condition, but was still in intensive care.
Also at a Grand Rapids hospital are Thering's niece and one of her twins. Both were taken to Helen DeVos Children's Hospital in Grand Rapids. Thering's other daughter was taken to a Lakeview hospital. No condition updates on the three minors are available at this time.
Charlinda Lupien told 24 Hour News 8 her husband's Ford Ranger had some sort of mechanical malfunction, which Michigan State Police are investigating. She added her husband never wanted to hurt anyone, and believes he would not have driven the truck if he thought it would cause a crash.
"I would just want to give them a hug and tell that we're sorry," Charlinda Lupien said. "We all lost somebody, and unfortunately, I lost my best friend."
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