Wrong-way driver rescued from burning car after hitting 4 others

CASS COUNTY, Mich. — A wrong-way driver on the highway hit four other vehicles, crashed and was rescued from his burning car by Good Samaritans early Saturday morning.

Cass County Sheriff Richard J. Behnke reports that at 4:15 a.m. Saturday his office was called to investigate a personal injury crash that occurred on M-60 near Reum Road in Milton Township. The report said a male driver was driving the wrong way northbound in the southbound lane of M-60 north of Reum Road.

A box truck driven by 23-year-old Kalamazoo resident Emily Oostema was driving in the southbound lane of M-60 when she swerved to miss the wrong-way driver. However, Oostema’s truck was struck by the wrong-way driver and turned into the median where her box truck overturned.

Oostema was wearing a safety belt and alcohol was not a factor.

A second semi being driven by 59-year-old Cassopolis resident Daniel Barton was driving in the right lane of southbound M-60 when it was struck by the wrong-way driver after it had struck Oostema’s vehicle. Barton’s semi then went off the roadway and overturned, dumping his payload into a farm field.

Barton was wearing his safety belt and alcohol was not a factor.

A third vehicle driven by 28-year-old Granger, Ind., resident Eric Missing was driving in the northbound lane of M-60 monitoring the wrong-way driver. After the box truck struck the wrong-way driver’s vehicle it went into the median and into the northbound lane of M-60, which made Missing go into the median, causing damage to his vehicle.

Missing was wearing his safety belt and alcohol was not a factor.

The male driver was later identified as Tory Leroy Miller, 43, of South Bend, Ind., who was taken to South Bend Memorial Hospital where he was listed in stable condition. Behnke said he is expected to recover from his injuries.

His vehicle sustained heavy damage and caught on fire. Two people on scene were able to get Miller out of the vehicle.

Behnke said alcohol use and safety belt use are factors at this time.

The other drivers sustained no injuries.

Assisting agencies included SMCAS Ambulance, Howard T ownship Fire Department, Niles City Fire Department, Life Care EMS, Pokagon Tribal Police, Ontwa Township Police and the Michigan Department of Transportation.

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2 comments

  • Eric Missing

    I don’t condone what he did, but we as a society have agreed on the punishments for driving drunk. Burning to death in a car is not one of those punishments. He will pay for his crimes. Hopefully, this time, he will also learn from them.

    I hope he gets the help he so clearly needs. Most of all… I hope he remembers what we did for him and makes the choice to be better than this; to regain his place in society and to regain the title of ‘human being’ which he so sadly squandered for a buzz.

    Tory, if you read this…

    That thing between your ears is your brain. It exists to be used. Do society and yourself a favor and put a few more miles on that organ and a few less miles on the road. Learn from this. Be better than this.

    I wish you the very best.