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Livingston County reevaluates Chase Lake-Fowlerville intersection after tragic crash

Kinsley Busard sits with her father, Kevin, in the Sparrow Specialty Long Term Acute Care Unit. Submitted

CONWAY TWP. — Following a tragic crash at Fowlerville and Chase Lake Road in late March that left at least one victim with permanent injuries, Conway Township contacted the Livingston County Road Commission to evaluate the intersection for potential changes.

“We’re doing a more complete review with traffic volumes and crashes,” said LCRC Traffic and Safety Engineer Michael Goryl. “We’re currently evaluating it. We collected traffic counts at the intersection. Over the next week or so, we’re going look at everything and evaluate the intersection to see if it warrants any countermeasures.”

As it stands, traffic on eastbound and westbound Chase Lake have a stop sign, while traffic on northbound and southbound Fowlerville Road are nonstop traffic.

According to Livingston County Sheriff’s Office Detective Mark Klein, there’ve been 21 total crashes at the intersection since Jan. 1, 2013, including data from LCSO and the Michigan State Police. Nine of those crashes resulted in injuries.

Most crashes occurred on Fridays and Saturdays, with nine “angle” collisions, seven single-vehicle crashes, two head-on left-turn crashes, two rear-end left-turn crashes, and one side-swipe.

Goryl said intersections across the county are reviewed on an annual basis, but the Fowlerville and Chase Lake Road intersection was specifically brought to their attention.

“I would say in the next couple weeks we’ll have a decision on what we’ll be doing, if anything, out there,” Goryl said.

‘Traumatic brain injuries are for life’

The review comes after Kevin Busard and his daughter, Kinsley, were involved in a two-vehicle crash at the intersection that left Kevin with a traumatic brain injury.

It was a windy and rainy Saturday. Kevin was on his way to pick up his daughter from a friend’s house. When they weren’t home after well over half an hour, his wife, Kayla, started to worry. She called Kevin once and he didn’t answer.

“The wheels started turning and I’m like, ‘Something’s not right,'” she told The Daily earlier this month.

Kayla gathered their son and her things and heard sirens. She checked the Livingston County Scanner Chat and saw a crash reported at Chase Lake and Fowlerville Road, the exact route Kevin took.

She confirmed with a deputy on-scene that her husband drives a gray Suzuki.

Deputies with the Livingston County Sheriff’s Office preliminarily found a 2017 Ford Edge, operated by a 30-year-old Fowlerville resident, was traveling north on Fowlerville Road when, at the intersection, the Suzuki failed to yield. Both drivers were transported to Sparrow Hospital. Kevin, 31, was in critical condition.

Kinsley escaped with a mild concussion and a few lacerations. It was late April before Kevin started showing emotion again, but the family hopes his language comprehension is coming back.

But the Busard family isn’t alone.

On a sunny Sept. 6, 2020, Gavven Culbertson, 19, was driving his Chevy with his sisters Kaydence, 15, and Saydee, 12, beside him. He’d picked them up from a pizza shop in Fowlerville.

There was a lot of traffic, the siblings’ mother, Melynie, told The Daily in a recent interview. As they came over the hill near Fowlerville and Chase Lake, a car pulled out in front of them. They collided.

“It was a terrible, terrible situation,” Melynie said.

A crash at the Fowlerville Road and Chase Lake Road intersection on Sept. 6, 2020, saw a truck engulfed in flames. Submitted

Gavven and Saydee, she said, were pinned in the now-flaming vehicle. They were assisted by two men and Kaydence, who was screaming for help. Kaydence tried to pull her sister out, while the two men tried to open Gavven’s door. They eventually had to pull him through the passenger side.

Gavven’s femur was shattered, Melynie said, and he had to learn to walk again. Saydee still suffers from a persistent hematoma on the side of her leg. Kaydence suffered injuries to her knee and face.

On top of the physical trauma, all three experienced mental trauma, Melynie said, and had to attend counseling, in part to help overcome their fear of driving.

Melynie explained the problem with the intersection and its surrounding landscape.

“If you’re traveling northbound on Fowlerville Road, the left-hand side of the road is Kreeger’s Country Market,” she said. “That has an entrance and an exit on Fowlerville Road, just before Chase Lake, if you’re traveling northbound.

“Then there’s the Chase Lake Road intersection, then you come up the hill and kind of start to crest over, so you have people turning from either side of Chase Lake or trying to go straight across. Then you have traffic that’s coming down the hill to go into town, and traffic going northbound that’s trying to pay attention to everything else while going up the hill — that’s when these accidents are happening, when there’s high traffic.”

“It’s a horrible intersection not to have something,” she added. “Why are we not being proactive? Why are we being reactive? These aren’t little fender benders. These are serious accidents. Cars that are totaled.”

Culbertson suggests installing a stoplight.

“I think we need to bypass even a blinking light at this point,” she said.

“I don’t want to see another family go through it.”

— Contact reporter Patricia Alvord at palvord@livingstondaily.com.

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