2017-05-18 / Front Page

82-year-old man’s life spared after crashing into building

BY TANYA TERRY
810-452-2645 • tterry@mihomepaper.com


Above, a machine was used to get the driver out of the vehicle and onto a stretcher to be transported to the hospital following his May 9 crash into the Indoor Grow Store on Dort Highway. 
Photos provided. Above, a machine was used to get the driver out of the vehicle and onto a stretcher to be transported to the hospital following his May 9 crash into the Indoor Grow Store on Dort Highway. Photos provided. BURTON — An 82-year-old man’s van struck the outside of local grow store around 5 p.m. May 9 after the man’s brakes went out.

“I saw it happen, said Alvin Johnson employee at the Indoor Grow Store on Dort Highway. “I saw the van in the air. I figured I was seeing things. I’d never seen a van fly through the air except in the movies.”

Johnson said he looked away, then heard a bang.

“I figured it was the van,” he said.

An observer said the driver turned, jumped the curb, hit a car and then hit the building at full speed.

“I thought it was World War III happening already,” said Darian Draper, manager at the Indoor Grow Store. “It sounded like a bomb.”

The van hit Draper’s 2015 Silverado, causing moderate damage.

“If the van wouldn’t have hit the other vehicle, I don’t think the driver would have made it,” Johnson said.

Johnson said the first thing he did when he saw the driver had crashed into the building was call 911, describing the condition of the driver, which he could see through the window. He said he saw Draper attempting to enter the van, who was unable to open the driver or front passenger doors from the outside due to the damage that was done to the driver’s vehicle.

“So, I went through the doors in the back of the work van,” Draper said. “The driver was trapped between the steering wheel and the seat. So, I grabbed a lever and let the seat back to give him some space.”

Draper, who said the driver told him his brakes went out and he was trying to avoid going to the intersection, continued trying to move ample items in the car in order to get the driver out.

When Johnson came out, he tried to open the passenger side because he and Draper felt that would be key to getting the driver out.

“Fluids were leaking out of the car really bad and smoke was coming out,” Draper said. “We thought it was going to blow up.”

Both Johnson and Draper said they realized the matter was urgent and they couldn’t just wait for the police.

“When I realized he was in distress and saw his face, it looked like he needed help,” Johnson said. “He said he couldn’t feel his legs and his face, hands and arms were bleeding.”

Johnson said the driver did not seem like he had been drinking and was very cognizant when describing what happened.

The Burton police arrived shortly afterwards, followed by the ambulance and the fire department. A machine was used to get the driver out of the vehicle and

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