2 dead in 4-vehicle accident near Lakeview

By Elisabeth Waldon • Last Updated 8:43 am on Tuesday, September 11, 2012

CATO TOWNSHIP— Two people have been identified after being killed in a four-vehicle accident Sunday afternoon.

The Michigan State Police responded to the accident, which occurred at approximately 4:55 p.m. at M-46 and Satterlee Road in Cato Township just west of the Michigan State Police Lakeview Post and the village of Lakeview.

An investigation revealed that a Ford Ranger pickup truck traveling westbound on M-46 crossed the centerline and struck an eastbound Ford Flex crossover head-on.

Benjamine Alan Lupien, 31, of Lakeview was driving the pickup truck and Sondra Lee Thering, 40, of Shepherd was riding in the front passenger seat of the crossover when the two vehicles collided.

Lupien and Thering were pronounced dead at the scene.

The driver of the Ford Flex was flown to Spectrum Butterworth Hospital in Grand Rapids by AeroMed for treatment.

The other three juvenile passengers of the Ford Flex were taken by ambulance to Spectrum Health Kelsey Hospital in Lakeview. Two of them were later transported to Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital in Grand Rapids.

All five occupants of the Ford Flex were wearing seatbelts at the time of the crash. Seatbelt usage was undetermined for the driver of the Ford Ranger.

Lupien’s wife and children were apparently driving behind him in a third vehicle and that vehicle was incidentally involved in the crash, as was a fourth vehicle containing a man and a woman. Those two vehicles sustained damage from trying to avoid the collision and debris from the accident. The occupants of those vehicles involved were wearing seatbelts and were uninjured.

“It’s crazy,” said Lakeview District Fire Chief Patrick Q. Carr of the accident. “I’ve never seen anything like this.”

Alcohol is not believed to be a factor in the accident and the investigation is still ongoing.

M-46 was closed to traffic until approximately 11 p.m. Sunday.

Michigan State Police troopers were assisted at the scene by Montcalm County Emergency Medical Services and Rescue, Lakeview District Fire Department, Howard City Police Department, Michigan Department of Transportation and multiple civilians.

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