Detroit schools go remote, drunk driver leaves trail of carnage, UWM accused of not protecting workers enough

Detroit schools will resume lesson plans virtually for the next week and a half following a three-day cancellation of class linked to COVID-19's spread in the city and around the state.

The historically-high infections of Covid forced Detroit to cancel classes Monday through Wednesday of this week upon worries that the virus would continue running rampant after the holidays ended. 

Further guidance from the district was announced Tuesday morning when the school notified parents that remote schooling would be in session until Jan. 14. 

According to the Detroit Public Schools Community District, the seven-day average for positive tests in the city has eclipsed 40%. Chrystal Wilson, the assistant superintendent of communications previous said in a statement that it was ‘inevitable’ more kids would quarantine or get infected and further disrupt school if classes resumed in person.

Until the infection rate falls, the district will remain remote. 

Children who need are eligible to pick up a laptop can do so at their school on Thursday from 12 to 4 p.m. or Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. More pickups are scheduled on Monday and Tuesday next week from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Laptops will need to be returned when in-person learning resumes. 

Grab and go meals will also be provided next week on Mondays and Thursday. 

Trail of carnage left by Allen Park drunken driver

An Allen Park man left a trail of carnage on New Year's Eve when he backed his truck into a car in a parking lot. It would be the first of many collisions that people would, starting with damage to vehicles at the Big League Brews in Ecorse.

Rich Hackenberg, who saw the first crash, made sure to follow as the suspected drunk driver left the scene. "He didn't have his headlights on, that's when he rear-ended the Buick Rendezvous at Mortenview," he said. "He slammed into her so hard, he was pretty much stuck to her."

That caused a chain reaction, hitting Magen Pirie's Dodge Charger. "I could barely see straight," she said. "My neck and back have been hurting ever since the accident." But the driver wasn't done. He slammed into two parked cars, which may have disabled the truck. But instead, witnesses said he wasn't done running. 

"He came at me like he didn't even know what was going on, like, 'Why did you stop me, what's going on?' It's like you didn't see anything?" Hackenberg said. A citizen's arrest soon followed when someone used a belt to tie him down. The 42-year-old man was taken into custody by Taylor police a short time later. 

United Wholesale Mortgage not protecting workers enough, former employee says

A Pontiac-based mortgage lender isn't doing enough to protect its workers from contracting COVID-19, a former employee with the company says. It's one of several emails and complaints that FOX 2 has received regarding the safety practices at United Wholesale Mortgage.

It's also not the first time the firm, which is made up of more than 9,000 employees, has bristled with health department safety practices. In August of 2020, the Oakland County Health Department issued an emergency order to UWM after more than 50 employees tested positive.

But masks are no longer mandated and neither is social distancing. Plexiglass dividers and remote work options are no longer the norm. According to UWM CEO Mat Isbia, who spoke with FOX 2 in March, he prefers his employees in the office.

The return to work with loosened restrictions amid the worst surge of coronavirus yet has caused some people to worry about the health standards at the company. "This is your family," the former employee said. "You want to protect your family, so do the precautions necessary to ensure they are safe." The company told FOX 2 they are following government guidelines. 

What's the likelihood of catching Covid twice?

If you’re one of the tens of thousands of Michiganders who have tested positive for COVID-19 in recent weeks, you may think that you have immunity to the virus – but doctors are warning that’s not quite the case.

A tidal wave of post-Covid people may think they're in the clear after infection this winter. But if you've had one strain, you can certainly get another, Dr. Asha Shajahan of Beaumont hospital said. "If you had Covid, you might think you're good but keep in mind this virus is still around and if it’s around, it can still continue to mutate."

"If you had Covid, and you're just recovering, and you have not been vaccinated, it would be to your benefit, once you are feeling better, to get vaccinated. It will boost the immunity you have," Shajahan said. The general rule of thumb is the more severe one's infection was, the more immunity they might have.

But as doctors have continued to emphasize - immunity from the vaccine is not like immunity from an infection. Antibodies produced after catching COVID-19 don't stick around forever, making reinfection a possibility.

Woman, 2 children including baby rescued from burning home

Detroit firefighters rescued a mother and her three young children from inside a burning home Monday afternoon on the west side of city. Firefighters rescued the mother, said to be in her late 20s, a 5-year-old girl, a 2-year-old boy, and a 4-month-old girl. All were hospitalized with smoke inhalation. 

By Monday evening, the 5-year-old girl's condition had improved, but the other three remain in critical condition from the smoke inhalation. The fire started on the first floor in the back of the house at about 2 p.m. When firefighters rescued the family, they were trapped on the second floor.

Deputy Fire Commissioner Dave Fornell said that the fire may have started from an accident. The smoke rose to the second floor and choked out the mother. Neighbor Antonio Wilson witnessed the rescue and said that the smoke was so thick, he witnessed one firefighter come out of the house and drop to his knees.

"I saw firefighters pull up, I looked up and I saw smoke coming from the top window," he said. "It was so black and so thick, I ran outside and I let them know that there's a family in that house. I saw them carry two babies out on that top ladder, man, and took them to that EMS truck and they took the two adults, one adult, and took them to that (other) EMS truck."

What else we're watching

  1. The recent swath of snow that swept through Michigan and much of the eastern U.S. has brought back a familiar reminder to anyone too old to shovel snow: don't. The chance of a heart attack increases when someone shovels snow and isn't prepared for the physical exertion it requires.
  2. Ford says its doubling it production capacity of its electric F-150 to meet demand from customers. The first group of reservation holders will be allowed to place an order on Thursday.
  3. At-home tests have become impossible to find. Some experts argue for those who are asymptomatic, they should cut back on their testing to allow for more people who aren't sure if they have the virus to get tested. 
  4. Parts of Canada will go into lockdown mode Thursday following Covid's widening spread. That means capacity limits at stores and no indoor dining. Caesars Windsor will also be closed through the 26th of January.
  5. Family of the 16-year-old who died after being restrained at a west Michigan youth center have settled with the company. It's the second wrongful death lawsuit in the case. Three employees were also criminally charged in the case. 

Live on FOX 2

Daily Forecast

Tuesday's weather will feel slightly warmer that Monday, but not by much. The sun will also be out for much of the day. Strong winds are expected Wednesday, which could make for a brutal wind chill forecast. 

Actor David Koechner from ‘Anchorman’ and ‘The Office' arrested on New Year’s Eve for DUI

David Koechner was arrested on New Year’s Eve for a suspected DUI in Simi Valley, California.

Law enforcement sources told TMZ, which was the first to report the news, that police received a call for "an erratic driver." A patrolling officer found the actor behind the wheel.

According to the outlet, the "Anchorman" star was given a field sobriety test, which he failed, and was then hauled in for drunk driving and allegedly hitting a street sign with his car.

Records from the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office revealed that the 59-year-old was arrested on Dec. 31 at 3:03 p.m. and booked at 5:15 p.m. that day. Koechner’s vehicle was towed and he was released on Jan. 1 at 5:49 a.m. Koechner was given a March 30 court date where he’s expected to appear at the Ventura County Superior Court to answer for the alleged incident.