One-car accident claims life of 13-year-old Houghton Lake boy
Jared Lee Miller, an eighth grader at Houghton Lake High School, died Sept. 24 and a memorial was held Tuesday at Houghton Lake United Methodist Church (for obituary information see page A3).
According to a Denton Township Police press release, the accident occurred on Emery Road east of Owens Road, before 10 p.m. There were five passengers in the vehicle in addition to the driver. A preliminary investigation revealed that the car was eastbound on Emery when the driver lost control. Evidence so far indicates that the vehicle left the roadway to the south, striking a ditch area, where the vehicle began to roll and possibly flip. The vehicle struck a large pine tree and came to rest upright. At the time of the crash, the asphalt road was wet as it had been raining.
Denton Township Police were assisted at the scene by Roscommon County Sheriff’s deputies and troopers from the Houghton Lake State Police Post.
In addition, Denton Township Fire and EMS personnel assisted in extricating two passengers who were pinned under the vehicle. The driver and occupants were transported to area hospitals for medical treatment, but Miller later succumbed to his injuries.
Denton Township Police Chief Dallas McGeary said the five other occupants in the vehicle – two 17-year-olds, two 15-year-olds and an 11-year-old – are “expected to recover.”
Police are uncertain as to how or why the driver lost control of the vehicle.
Roscommon County Sheriff Det./ Sgt. John Wybraniec is working in cooperation with Denton Township Police to handle the crash reconstruction. He called what he saw “an unusual crash.”
“Most crashes can fit a convenient formula,” Wybraniec said. “It’s not a simple roll over or a simple flip. It’s really kind of a combination here.”
Wybraniec began his reconstruction the night of the crash and has been working on it since. He started marking evidence that night and the next morning he returned to the scene and found more visible markings. From the beginning he has been trying to match the markings on the ground and the car together. Because of the uniqueness of the crash pattern it will take some time before the reconstruction is complete. He said he will be working on the case to try to determine exactly what happened and why the driver lost control of the vehicle.
“The vehicle has tumbled off the road way in an unusual fashion,” Wybraniec said. “The real puzzler is why did he lose control.”
Wybraniec called the crash unfortunate and added “the impact on the community is going to be great.”
McGeary said the case is still under investigation, as some interviews need to be completed.