2 dead in special needs van crash with truck in Monroe Co

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Two people are dead after a tragic crash between a van of special needs passengers and a box truck. 

A 60-year-old man and 66-year-old woman were killed in the crash with five other people injured. One more passenger is in critical condition.

The accident happened at 2:30 p.m. near Heiss and Telegraph in Frenchtown Township. Police say the van pulled in front of a box truck, causing the crash.

The van had a total of nine occupants, seven of them were developmentally disabled adults from a care facility located in Taylor, Michigan.

The driver of the van and the front seat passenger were staff members for the care facility and were transporting the residents back home after a trip to Calder's Dairy Farm in Carleton. 

"I saw a van on it's side then I saw a box truck way out in the field," said Kathleen Bressler, a neighbor. 

The van was crossing Telegraph on Heiss when it pulled in front of a Matco Tool truck that was traveling north, according to Michigan State Police. The impact caused the van to overturn and come to rest on its passenger side, trapping the injured occupants. The truck lost control after the collision and came to a stop in a field on the west side of Telegraph Road, just north of Heiss. 

Michigan State Police tell FOX 2 - the truck had the right of way, the van did not yield. 
"It is a horrible situation, especially for all the families involved," said Lt. Tony Cuevas, Monroe post commander. 

One of the passengers in the van, a 60-year-old man, was pronounced dead at the scene due to injuries suffered in the crash. Two other occupants of the van suffered critical injuries and were transported by helicopter to area hospitals. One of those victims, a 66-year-old woman, died at Southshore Beaumont Hospital.

All of the people were trapped inside, making the rescue a challenge.

"There is no doubt that this accident was taxing on first responders at the scene," Cuevas said. "And of course we have family members that will of course be touched by the crash."

The other occupants were transported by ambulance to several area hospitals for injuries varying from serious to non-life-threatening. The driver of the Matco Truck was injured in the crash and was transported with non-life-threatening injuries to an area hospital.

"I can only imagine how much fun they were having and enjoying themselves then to hear of something so terrible has happened is really hard to deal with," Bressler said.
Bressler says this intersection sees it share of tragedy because of accident, but this one is especially heartbreaking.
"My prayers go out to the people involved and I wish the survivors a quick recovery," she said.

Michigan State Police aren't giving the name of that adult care facility because they're still notifying next of kin.