ADDISON TWP. – One person is dead, one could be facing criminal charges and one is being called a hero following a three-vehicle crash on Lakeville Rd., near Barr Rd., in the wee hours Sunday morning.
Misty Considine, 57, of Goodrich, died at Royal Oak Beaumont Hospital later that morning after the 2013 Ford Fiesta she was riding in as a passenger collided head-on with a 2013 Ford Edge that crossed the center line, according to the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office.
The Edge was driven by a 36-year-old St. Clair man, who sustained minor injuries.
“Alcohol appears to be a factor,” according to the sheriff’s office.
“He admitted to drinking,” said Deputy Jerry Yaldoo, of the sheriff’s Crash Reconstruction Unit.
The St. Clair man submitted to a voluntary blood draw and the test results are pending. Following the crash, he was lodged in the county jail until Feb. 20 when he was released pending further investigation.
According to Yaldoo, the St. Clair man was headed east on Lakeville Rd. when he “lost control” and “went left of center,” then crashed into the westbound Fiesta.
Considine’s 60-year-old husband, also a Goodrich resident, was driving at the time.
While the vehicles were resting in the roadway, a 1997 Buick LeSabre, driven by a 26-year-old Oxford Township woman, struck the Fiesta.
“She comes along – it’s dark out, obviously – and she broadsides the Fiesta, which pushes that into the Edge and the Edge catches on fire,” Yaldoo said.
The driver of the Edge was able to exit his vehicle, but the Goodrich couple was trapped inside the Fiesta.
Fortunately, there was “a Good Samaritan” at the scene, according to Yaldoo.
That person was Addison Township resident Ralph Gilles, global head of design for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.
Gilles and his wife, Doris, were headed home from an event in their Jeep Wrangler when they came upon the accident.
“We were the first (ones) on the scene,” he said. “It looked like it (had) just happened based on the steam and the fact that the gentleman (driving the Edge) was clearly just getting out of his car.”
Gilles stopped to help while his wife called 9-1-1. He and the driver of the Edge tried to help the couple in the Fiesta, but none of the doors would open.
Gilles decided to move his Wrangler out of the way and while doing this, he saw the LeSabre hit the Fiesta, which slid into the Edge.
Seeing the “tall flames coming from the Edge’s engine compartment” and concerned the Fiesta, which was now touching the burning vehicle, would also catch fire while the couple was trapped inside, the quick-thinking Gilles used his Wrangler to “push the Edge to the opposite shoulder, away from the other two vehicles.”
“I still have no idea where that (thought) came from,” Gilles told this reporter. “The only thing I can remember thinking (is) I’ve got a Jeep, it’s got a bumper on it, I think I can do this. All I could think about were the two people still inside the other car.”
“I figured the fire department would take a while to get there . . . at that time of day. I had to do something fast,” he continued.
“I give the Jeep a lot of credit because had I been in my (Dodge) Challenger, I wouldn’t have had the traction to do it,” Gilles noted. “Luckily, we had the Jeep that night. I put it in four-wheel drive and it worked perfectly.”
The fire didn’t surprise Gilles because prior to it, he could smell “a variety of (auto) fluids” and thought “this thing is a Roman candle waiting to happen.”
“The second contact (involving the LeSabre) must have created enough (of a) spark that it set off the fire,” he said.
The Goodrich couple was extricated from the Fiesta by Addison Township firefighters.
Addison Fire Chief Jerry Morawski said they had the couple out of the vehicle within 22 minutes of arriving at the scene.
Addison firefighters transported Considine to Ascension-Crittenton Hospital in Rochester Hills. From there, she was airlifted to Royal Oak Beaumont Hospital for further treatment and that’s where she passed away just hours later.
Oxford firefighters transported her husband to McLaren Oakland hospital in downtown Pontiac where he was listed in stable condition.
The driver of the LaSabre sustained minor injuries.
Gilles was praised for his actions by Morawski. “That guy did a pretty heroic thing,” the chief said. “I think the guy did a great job . . . (If he hadn’t taken action,) it could have been worse.”
But Gilles doesn’t view himself as a hero.
“Looking at the situation, there was no other option,” he said.
“It’s important to stop (whenever there’s an accident). It’s kind of what you’re supposed to do,” Gilles noted. “Every time I see something like that, I always at least inquire if they need help.”