By Judy Reed
A family was left fatherless Tuesday after a vehicle and semi-truck crashed head-on in Oakfield Township Tuesday.
Witnesses Joan and Chuck Carpenter were heading westbound on 14 Mile to a doctor’s appointment Tuesday about 12:08 p.m., near Redmond Avenue, when the accident occurred.
“The car in front of me just swerved across the center line and into that truck,” said Chuck, who was visibly shaken by the accident.
The car in front of them, driven by Kevin Fazio, 41, of Rockford, had hit an eastbound semi-tractor trailer hauling diesel fuel. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
“It was like something out of a wild movie,” remarked Joan. “The car flew up and spun around. I really thought it was going to hit us.” The car did sideswipe the Carpenter vehicle, but they were unhurt.
According to Michigan State Police Trooper Mike Hall, the truck driver swerved to the shoulder, where the truck overturned and caught fire in the cab. It also spilled its contents.
Shortly after the accident occurred, a Kent City fireman and a reserve officer stopped and checked on the victims, and helped get the truck driver out of the burning cab. Courtland and Oakfield Fire Departments responded to the scene, and quickly doused the flames. The truck driver escaped with non-life threatening injuries.
Trooper Hall said that an autopsy would be conducted to see if there was any medical condition that would have caused the driver to cross the centerline. He is survived by his wife Cathy, and two children, Nate and Megan.
Assisting Michigan State Police at the scene was the fire departments, Kent County Sheriff’s Department, and the Kent County Road Commission. The road was closed for several hours while a Hazmat company and the fire departments cleaned up the scene. The accident is still under investigation.