DETROIT (WJBK) - Police are still trying to decipher what caused a terrible wrong-way crash that killed three people and critically injured two.
Three people died Wednesday morning when the wrong-way driver crashed on southbound I-75 just before 4 a.m. in Detroit near the I-94 exit. According to Michigan State Police Lt. Mike Shaw, the driver responsible, Leeanna Custard, 34, was caught on camera going the wrong way.
"We were able to see the female of the Chevy Malibu enter the wrong way from the Lafayette ramp and she was heading northbound in the south lanes," Shaw said.
Police say Custard left Greektown Casino, got on the interstate and went the wrong way for about six minutes. Not a single 911 call was made in the time she was on the interstate. Shaw said that's not surprising considering it was 4 a.m.
"That time of day the entrance ramps on to the freeway on that portion are very minimal that's why we didn't get the normal barrage of phone calls for a wrong way driver," Shaw said.
The accident happened just north of the I-75 and I-94 interchange. Custard's Malibu crashed with a 2000 Oldsmobile Silhouette, which was carrying four people. Two of those passengers died and two others were taken to the hospital with critical injuries.
The two others killed in the crash have been identified as 23-year-old Karl Hawkins of Pontiac, and 21-year-old Elijah Holden of Auburn Hills. The two passengers who are hospitalized have not yet been named. One, though, we're told was the driver of the van.
"We're in the process of determining search warrants for the black boxes inside the vehicles so we can see if there was some braking so we can see what their speeds were as far as the crash goes," Shaw said.
Police said no brake marks were on the highway and that the collision likely happened in the left lane. Shaw said that's another reason police advise drivers not to drive in the fast lane unless you're passing someone.
"If you have a tendency to drive in the left lane and a wrong way driver comes up on you. You are stuck without being able to take evasive action," Shaw said.
Police say often when there is a crash downtown they routinely check with casinos to see if the license plate matches a vehicle leaving a gambling establishment. That's how they determined the driver of the Malibu was Custard, the woman they say is responsible.
"We just lucked out where her license plate happened to pop up there and we were able to go back to the video and see her on video leave Greektown and go the wrong way," Shaw said.
Police then reviewed the tape and determined she had been there roughly an hour before getting on the road heading in the wrong direction. Police say at first glance it doesn't appear as though she was intoxicated but toxicology results could prove otherwise.
It will be weeks before those results are known.
"We may never determine the reason she entered the freeway the wrong way - if it was a distracted driving incident, not paying attention, lost, or something to that effect," Shaw said.
UPDATE: Story has been updated to reflect the two passengers who died were in the Oldsmobile Silhouette, not in the Malibu.