Traverse City Record-Eagle

July 23, 2013

Three days, three odd car accidents in Leelanau

Traverse City Record-Eagle

---- — SUTTONS BAY — Three unusual car accidents occurred in three days on Leelanau County roads.

- An Elmwood Township farm worker was injured and his lift truck’s load of cherries was spilled onto the road in a traffic accident on July 18.

Robert Freeman, 74, drove a lift truck laden with cherries north on Bugai Road and turned onto Hoxie Road when Robert C. Underhill III, 33, of Suttons Bay, struck his truck from behind. Leelanau County sheriff’s Lt. Kerr said Underhill admitted he drove too fast and didn’t have enough time to stop.

Freeman was thrown from his lift truck and received cuts and scrapes when he landed in the middle of the intersection. Munson Medical Center spokesman Dale Killingbeck said Freeman was treated for his injuries and released from the hospital.

Underhill received a citation for failure to stop in an assured clear distance ahead.

- Kerr said a passenger in single-vehicle Empire Township crash on July 19 walked away from the accident but left the injured driver behind.

A Bow Road resident called Leelanau dispatch at 2:50 a.m. to report the sound of a crash on South Bow Road. Deputies arrived to find Kadi L. Baarstad, 19, of East Lansing, who said she did not know where her passenger, Paige R. Pickard, 19, of Glen Arbor, went after the vehicle struck a large tree.

Investigation showed no sign she hit the brakes. Both airbags deployed and Baarstad was transported to Munson Medical Center for her injuries. Killingbeck said she has been released from the hospital.

A witness reported two people stood by the car after the accident and one eventually walked in the woods. Emergency workers originally didn’t know whether Pickard was injured and tried to locate her. Her parents told deputies she wasn’t injured, but didn’t want to talk to investigators.

Kerr said Baarstad showed signs of intoxication and deputies performed a blood test. He said the results will be forwarded to the Leelanau County prosecutor for review.

- Dizziness from a bee sting may have led to a Bingham Township crash on July 20.

Dale L. Couturier, 66, of Leland Township, ran his vehicle off South Lake Leelanau Drive and struck a tree at 2:37 p.m. He told deputies he was stung by a bee right right before he drove and became dizzy. He was otherwise uninjured.

Kerr said the three accidents were typical for increased traffic during the summer.

“With more folks on the road, it just makes it more likely these odd things will occur,” he said.