November 20, 2019

Semi collision sends truck through wall of Fairview Food Market

No injuries sustained


FAIRVIEW — Although jarring, Oscoda County Sheriff Kevin Grace said the situation could not have been handled better when a two-semitrailer collision sent one through the wall of Fairview Food Market.

Emergency personnel spent nearly the entire day June 5 working to clear the scene of the accident, which caused no injuries but damaged the local business and left much of the community without power.

Grace said at 10:41 a.m. two semitrailers collided at the intersection of M-72 and M-33 in Fairview. The collision happened when one semi failed to yield at the stoplight and collided with the other, causing the struck semi to jackknife and crash into Fairview Food Market. Grace said the 77-year-old driver of the truck that failed to yield at the light was dealt a citation for doing so.

Grace said roughly 70 gallons of fuel were spilled onto the roadway and the surrounding area. In addition, the accident involved a utility pole, and as a result approximately 1,600 customers were without power for the better part of the afternoon. Fairview Area Schools was affected by the power outage and dismissed early because of it.

Grace said the combination of all the factors at the accident, such as live power lines down, leaking fuel and the fragility of the structure after the collision, made this a very dangerous scene. He said he was proud of all those who assisted at the scene ensuring no injuries were sustained in the cleanup that followed.

“This went about as smooth as can be for an event that could have gone much worse,” he said. “Everyone got to work immediately, and had everything under control quickly.”

Because of the location of the accident, size of the vehicles and the amount of damage to the building, eastbound M-72 was closed until approximately 7 p.m. Grace and his deputies worked to circumvent traffic around the scene in order to avoid significant backups. Assisting at the sheriff’s department at the scene were the Comins, Tri-Town and Luzerne fire departments and the Michigan State Police.

Immediately following the crash, store owner Dan Swartzendruber said his first thought was that something had crashed through the roof, as the noise and vibrations were that drastic. He said he is under the impression that a higher power was watching over the situation.

“There was a kid stocking the shelves about 5 feet away from where the truck came through the wall,” he said. “It feels like God was watching out for us.”

Swartzendruber said things like products and walls can be replaced or fixed. He said he’s just glad no one was injured. He said is planning on rebuilding as soon as he can.

Grace said the accident is still under investigation.


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