Vigil for 2-year-old killed in freeway crash • UM medical students stage walk-out • Puppy survives plane crash

A 2-year-old girl killed last week in a crash on the Southfield freeway last Wednesday was remembered tonight.

Loved ones of little Vanessa - and even some strangers, gathered outside her daycare in Detroit on Monday night.

"Vanessa was really a bright, sweet, loving girl - she was always happy and excited," said a worker at her daycare.

"I liked Vanessa because she was nice to everyone, she was a little screechy but it’s alright," said a young boy who was friends with her.

Diane Louis witnessed the crash that killed the little girl on the Southfield near Outer Drive.

"I let up on the gas and watched this van smash into the wall," Louis said.

Police said the 30-year-old Detroit woman was speeding in the right lane headed north near Outer Drive in Allen Park when she hit a vehicle in front of her just before 9 p.m. She then crossed the middle and left lanes before crashing into the barrier wall.

Louis says she called 911 then rushed over to help, first finding Vanessa.

"She was in the middle seat with just a lap belt," she said.

The 2-year-old was unconscious and bleeding, her 3-month-old half-brother RJ also in the car, and suffered critical injuries.

Louis says she stayed with them until help arrived but days after the crash, she felt compelled to do more.

RJ, the 6-month-old half-brother of Vanessa, was injured in the crash.

RJ, the 6-month-old half-brother of Vanessa, was injured in the crash. 

"I called them today and I said you need to understand what really happened and I said i want you to know I don’t think she suffered, that’s the only comfort I can give you," Louis said.

The driver of the van was the children’s mother, Nyasha Pool. Both fathers claim they tried to get their kids away from her through Child Protective Services.

"I had a CPS case on her. The CPS lady tried to tell me there was no sign of harm," said Sherman Slaughter, Vanessa's father.

Michigan State Police said the investigation remains open as toxicology results have yet to be finished on Pool, which could result in charges.

Even Nyasha Pool’s own mother says this tragedy could have been prevented.

"Sorry don't cut it. (It's) not bringing Vanessa back and she should be held accountable," she said.

The results of which left many grief-stricken.

"I wear my daughter('s pictures) on my neck every day," Slaughter said. "She is my motivation in life."

As for the second child RJ, FOX 2 spoke with his father who says he has been released from the hospital and is in foster care. The father says he plans to fight for custody. 

Inset: 2-year-old Vanessa who died in the Southfield freeway crash.

Inset: 2-year-old Vanessa who died in the Southfield freeway crash.

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Lottery fever heating up as Mega Millions hits $810M

What would you do with $810 million?

There's not much someone couldn't buy with that kind of money behind them. And soon, at least one lucky person is going to find out just what it feels like to win it big. Lottery fever is sweeping Michigan and the U.S. as the Mega Millions jackpot hit its third-highest amount ever. After no one claimed a winning ticket during the July 22 drawing, the next chance they'll have is Tuesday.

No one has won it since April 15 when the jackpot was $20 million. As is apparent, lottery figures tend to accumulate higher and higher sums the longer no one wins. Tickets can be bought in 45 different states.  

"It would mean a lot. I would buy a house, pay my bills, buy a car, buy another car, help my mama out, help my granny out, take care of my son," said Azhia Bowen, a Detroit resident. "That's a lot of money."

The chance of scoring the money is also tiny: About a 1 in 302,000,000 chance. To put that in context, one is more likely to:

  • Being crushed by a meteorite (1 in 700,000)
  • Getting audited (1 in 175)
  • Being U.S. president (1 in 10,000,000)
  • Being struck by lightning twice (1 in 9,000,000)

Get more lottery stories here

U-M medical students walk out during white coat ceremony

A group of University of Michigan medical students walked out of their white coat ceremony Sunday because a keynote speaker is anti-abortion. Dr. Kristin Collier, who is an assistant professor of medicine, was selected to speak by a group of medical students, house officials, and faculty. After the walkout, she posted a tweet thanking those who have supported her.

The school released a statement Monday, saying, "The White Coat Ceremony is not a platform for discussion of controversial issues. Its focus will always be on welcoming students into the profession of medicine. Dr. Collier never planned to address a divisive topic as part of her remarks. However, the University of Michigan does not revoke an invitation to a speaker based on their personal beliefs."

Although Collier didn’t speak about her beliefs, she’s the second U of M employee to make headlines over anti-abortion views. Last week, head football coach Jim Harbaugh spoke at an anti-abortion event. "Showing solidarity in your beliefs is good. You should always stand up for what’s right," said senior Ron Sachdeva.

Students and graduates at the school shared their opinions about what happened. "I think people were pretty proud of the class for standing up for what they believe in and protesting a speaker they didn’t want," graduate Helena Li said. "It’s not something I would expect, but at the same time, it doesn’t surprise me people would do that."

Read more here

Puppy found alive after Macomb plane crash

A 6-month-old golden retriever survived a plane crash over the weekend in Macomb County.

Charlie was on a plane with her owners, who are from Chicago, and their 17-year-old niece, who is from Georgia. They were headed back to Chicago on Sunday when their plane barely got into the air at a city airport in the area of 27 Mile and Indian Trail in Ray Township.

The humans were taken to a hospital with critical injuries, while Charlie was missing. Early Monday morning, a newspaper delivery driver found Charlie, who is doing well.

"It is a miracle that all three people survived, Charlie survived," said Ray Township Fire Chief Mark Hoskin. Hoskin credited the 44-year-old pilot for attempting a controlled crash.

Watch the segment here

Detroit Pistons bringing throwback teal jersey color back

The Detroit Pistons are dipping into some nostalgia as they look forward to the 2022-23 NBA season. In a not-so-ambiguous video tease, the basketball team is reintroducing its famed teal-colored jersey for the upcoming season. 

"Allow us to re-introduce some classics," read the caption for the 51-second clip posted to Twitter Monday night. It even included standout Cade Cunningham backing the color change with an audio bite: "I'm pro teal"

The return of the iconic blue brings an almost 90s feeling to the team's new colors.

The Pistons recently acquired first-round draft picks Jaden Ivey and Jalen Duren, who put on a show during the NBA's summer league and showed potential for the team still rebuilding out of a seasonal rut that's plagued it for the past few years. 

Read more here

Live on FOX 2

What else we're watching

  1. The Detroit City Council will be voting on the proposed demolition of the Packard Plant Tuesday during a meeting. The site has been a blighted property for years as the city has wrestled with the owner over fixing it or removing it.
  2. A vigil honoring the memory of a Grand Blanc teen who was found dead Monday morning was held late last night. Detroit police have opened a murder investigation into the death of Jacob Hills, who was found with gunshot wounds. 
  3. The music and food lineups for the Arts Beats & Eats festival in Royal Oak is expected Tuesday around 2 p.m. It'll be the 25th annual concert. 
  4. New renderings showing the building that will take the place of the old Joe Louis Arena site are being reported. The Detroit Free Press revealed an all-glass cube that will have 500 apartment units in it.
  5. Defense attorneys are pushing back against prosecutors in the Flint Water trial. The legal team for Nick Lyon, the former health director, is asking a judge to sanction attorneys for the AG's office.

Daily Forecast

Cool in the morning and warm in the afternoon: that's what Southeast Michigan can expect from their Tuesday forecast with no more than a passing cloud to disrupt the sunshine. Spotty showers might cause some trouble Wednesday.

Iconic Choco Taco ice cream treat discontinued

It’s a sad day for ice cream lovers everywhere.

Klondike has announced it will discontinue its beloved and iconic Choco Taco after nearly 40 years, according to a company tweet.

"Unfortunately, the Choco Taco has been discontinued in both 1ct and 4ct packs," Klondike responded to a clearly distressed Twitter user.  

The company cited "an unprecedented spike in demand" across all of Klondike’s products and "have had to make very tough decisions to ensure availability of our full portfolio nationwide," the tweet continued.