TRAVERSE CITY — Grand Traverse County Sheriff’s officials are investigating a two-vehicle crash at 12:20 p.m. Monday on U.S. Highway 31 South near Franke Road that left multiple motorists injured.

Early traffic wreck investigation showed a Dodge Charger driven north by a 20-year-old Traverse City man struck a Buick Enclave driven by a 77-year-old Empire man who turned left into a business driveway, authorities said.

Emergency medical responders rushed the older man and his 78-year-old woman passenger to Munson Medical Center with serious injuries. The 20-year-old Traverse City man was taken to the hospital for treatment of minor injuries, authorities said.

The crash remains under investigation, sheriff’s officials said.

Michigan house explosion sends 8 people to hospitals

MARSHALL — An explosion possibly leaked to natural gas destroyed a house in southern Michigan on Monday and injured eight people, authorities said.

All were taken to hospitals, though three were released. The explosion and fire occurred overnight in Marshall, 15 miles east of Battle Creek. There were at least two children in the house.

“I’ve got to be honest: It was miraculous that all of them were able to get out,” Fire Chief Martin Esrkine said.

The preliminary cause appeared to be a gas leak, he said. The house was being renovated.

A neighbor, Patti Bischoff, said loud noises caused her to believe that something had crashed through her window.

“It was like looking into a dollhouse,” Bischoff said. “It was opened right up. ... It was like an inferno. Like a tinder box.”

U.S. nominates N.Y. lawyer to monitor UAW union

DETROIT — The U.S. attorney’s office in Detroit is recommending that a federal judge name New York lawyer Neil Barofsky to monitor the United Auto Workers union’s behavior after a corruption scandal.

Appointing an independent monitor is part of a settlement the union agreed to with federal prosecutors in December. He’ll stay in place for six years unless both sides agree to a shorter term.

Barofsky leads the law firm Jenner & Block’s monitorship practice. He monitored two units of Credit Suisse following multibillion-dollar settlements. He also was an assistant U.S. Attorney in Manhattan and served as Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program, which bailed out banks and two auto companies after the 2009 financial crisis.

After a monitor is appointed, the union has six months to hold a secret-ballot election to decide whether members will vote directly to pick the union’s future leaders. Barofsky would monitor the election, as well as compliance with the settlement. Currently union leaders are picked by delegates to a national convention.

The monitor will administer the election, will have the power to approve hiring or discharges of union employees, and can end or approve contracts, the settlement agreement says.

Acting U.S. Attorney Saima S. Mohsin made the motion to hire Barofsky on Monday, according to court records. The union submitted the names of three candidates, and the appointment still must be approved by Judge David Lawson.

The agreement came in the wake of a wide-ranging federal probe into corruption that reached into the upper ranks of the 400,000-member UAW. It held off a possible federal takeover of the union due to the bribery and embezzlement investigation that has lasted more than five years.

The probe has led to 11 convictions of union members, including two former presidents. The U.S. Attorney’s office said it uncovered embezzlement of over $1.5 million in dues money, kickbacks to union officials from vendors, and $3.5 million in illegal payments from executives at Fiat Chrysler who wanted to corruptly influence contract talks.

UAW President Rory Gamble, who was not charged in the probe, has said the union is now clean and will have safeguards in place to prevent the scandal from happening again.

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