1 dead, 1 charged in Benton Harbor crash

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Benton Harbor Empire Avenue and Pipestone Street fatal crash 012616_185585

BENTON HARBOR, Mich. (WOOD) — One person was killed in a three-vehicle crash in Benton Harbor on Tuesday evening.

The wreck happened around 6:05 p.m. at the intersection of Empire Avenue and Pipestone Street, according to the Berrien County Sheriff’s Office.

The sheriff’s office said a 2003 Pontiac Grand Am was headed west on Empire at a “high rate of speed” when it struck a 2003 Honda van in the intersection and then hit a 2004 Saturn Vue.

There were three people in the Grand Am. One of them, the rear seat passenger, was pronounced dead at the scene. That person was later identified by authorities as 19-year-old Alphonzo Lamonte Porter Jr.

The driver and front seat passenger were taken to Lakeland Hospital for treatment. There was no word of anyone in the van or Vue being injured.

The driver, 22-year-old Ulises Damian Rangel of Benton Township, was arrested and charged with operating a vehicle while his license was suspended, revoked or denied causing death and carrying a concealed weapon.

The Berrien County Sheriff’s Accident Reconstruction Team was called to the scene and authorities are still investigating. Speed appears to have been a “major factor” in the crash, the sheriff’s office said.

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