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Backus Township Deadly Crash Claims Gladwin Man’s Life, Three Others Injured While Trail-Riding

"When alcohol is involved in something like this, the outcome will always be bad."

Tragedy on the trail…

When this jeep rolled, everyone inside was thrown out.

A man died and a woman is in critical condition.

State Police say alcohol and speed were factors Saturday night in Roscommon County.

Investigators say four people were thrown from the jeep as they sped down Trail 6 in Backus Township, including a husband, his wife and their daughter.

9&10’s Cody Boyer has tonight’s top story.


Troopers told me this afternoon a 27-year-old Cedar man was behind the wheel of a heavily-modified jeep Saturday night.

Sgt. David Johnson of the Houghton Lake MSP post says the man lost control and smashed into a tree.

“There was four in the jeep,” Sgt. Johnson says. “The driver was a man from Cedar, the passenger was a man from Gladwin. The other two passengers were also from Gladwin."

The wreckage of a jeep built for trail-riding sits twisted.

Troopers say the impact killed a 48-year-old Gladwin father.

“There was evidence at the scene and some admission by those who were in the vehicle that some drinking had been going on,” Sgt. Johnson says. “What extent that played in the accident…kind of yet to be determined."

The driver suffered non-life-threatening injuries, along with a 21-year-old woman who was riding with her mother in the backseat.

Troopers say the mother is in critical condition.

“I haven’t had a wreck on these trails in a longtime,” says Michael Huff, co-owner of Maple Valley Towing. “I was kind of surprised to see where it was at."

Michael Huff works for the company that helped tow the jeep out.

He says, on groomed trails, speed can turn into danger.

“You got a high-powered rig with big tires on it, very tipsy,” Huff says. “If you are going to have a problem, speed is definitely a factor."

Troopers say the case is on the prosecutor’s desk and the driver could face charges.

“If you maintain any normal operating speed at all, you’ll never have a problem,” Huff says. “It’s very few and far between when we get any business off of these trails. When alcohol is involved in something like this, the outcome will always be bad."

I talked with the daughter who is in the hospital with her mother.

She says the family is going through a nightmare and thankful for community support.

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