Family of young father killed by wrong way driver devastated

- A horrific accident on I-75 early Wednesday morning has left several families devastated. Three people were killed and two others were critically injured in the crash, which police say was caused by a wrong-way driver.

One mother woke up to hearing about the crash, not knowing her son was among the victims.

Johnetta Pugh remembers seeing the graphic images of the horrific crash on the news. It wasn't until that night when police showed up at her door that she learned her own son, 23-year-old Karl Hawkins, was one of the victims. Hawkins was riding in the Oldsmobile Silhouette that was hit head-on by the wrong-way driver.

"It was very upsetting. I have never experienced anything like that," Pugh says. "I was really torn down from it. My youngest son, my baby."

Family members are grieving the loss of Hawkins, who is the father of a 5-year-old girl and a baby boy on the way.

Pugh says her loving son had been in the process of turning his life around.

"I am really angry," she says. "I'm angry. All I can think is Lord, why my child? Why did this have to happen? His life was cut so short from something that was a mistake. It wasn't his fault."

Police say 34-year-old Leeanna Custard of New Baltimore had just left the casino when she drove the wrong way on I-75 for at least six minutes. According to the state police, Custard has a history of problems on the road. She was arrested for drunk driving in Warren; she caused a crash in Chesterfield Township; and she was ticketed for careless driving in New Baltimore.

Pugh says Karl left her house Tuesday night and went out with friends.  hey were actually heading to a Detroit casino when they were struck head on.

Hawkins and Elijah Holden were killed. Two others were taken to the hospital and are in critical condition.

For Pugh, she says her family will get her through the heartache, a pain she says only a mother would know.

"Nothing can change it," she says. "Nothing can bring my child back. He's just gone."

Pugh is still waiting to learn more details from the crash as police continue the investigation. The family is working to plan the funeral and set up a GoFundMe to help pay for it.


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