SAUGATUCK, Mich. (WOOD) - A veteran tow truck driver is warning good Samaritans to avoid standing along the side of the highway if they stop to help someone who has crashed.
Two men from out of state were killed Thursday night after they were struck as they stood along I-196 in the Saugatuck-Douglas area.
Jared Kavinsky, 21, of Wisconsin lost control of his car and hit a guard rail. Terrence Noone, a 62-year-old from Chicago, stopped to help.
Both men were standing near the crashed car when 26-year-old Joseph Willard of Comstock Park lost control of his vehicle, which hit and killed the men standing on the side of the highway.
Willard was flown to the hospital with serious injuries, where he remained Friday in fair condition.
Michigan State Police say the road was wet and slushy at the time of the crash.
"Sad to hear it's happened already." Lerrin DeRooy said.
As the snow flies, veteran flatbed wrecker truck drivers like DeRooy know the number of crashes will go up.
DeRooy has seen frightening scenes similar to the one that happened Thursday night on I-196. In one instance, he was responding t o a crash on M-6. The driver and passengers had gathered near the vehicle.
"It was too dangerous. I asked them please go back over to the inner median side where it's safer," he recalled.
They moved. DeRooy looked up to see a semi-truck bearing down on him.
"I ran as fast as I could to the front of the truck. He hit the truck right where I was standing. A matter of just half a second. That's all you have," DeRooy said.
Now that the weather has changed and the snow's beginning to fall, the number of accidents is bound to go up. So will the chances for tragedies like the one near Saugatuck Thursday night.
And if you've involved in one of these accidents, or stop to help, you're going to be in danger.
In many cases, it's the chain reaction that causes injuries. A vehicle can come up on an accident and hit the crashed cars, sending heavy metal flying every which way -- including your way. And you can't hide.
"Even one of these trucks," DeRooy said, pointing to his flatbed. "One of these trucks get hit hard enough, they will travel. They will travel very quickly."
Both DeRooy and MSP say the best advice is, assuming no one is hurt and the injuries don't incapacitate the victim, to get them and yourself away from the vehicle and out of the potential crash zone.
"See if you can find if they have a ride coming out to them. Maybe a safe place where they could stand or if you can take them somewhere. Always try to get out of there, at least," DeRooy said. "If you have to be inside your vehicle, put on the seatbelt. It's the same standing still as if you were driving down the road."
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