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8-year-old girl, 5-year-old boy dead after car crashes into birthday party in Michigan

Marnie Munoz, The Detroit News on

Published in News & Features

BERLIN TOWNSHIP, Mich. — A driver crashed her vehicle through a building where a children's birthday party was taking place Saturday afternoon, killing an 8-year-old girl and her 5-year-old brother while injuring more than a dozen others at a boat club in Monroe County's Berlin Township.

The incident occurred at approximately 3 p.m. at the Swan Creek Boat Club, according to the Monroe County Sheriff's Office. Victims were taken to several area hospitals.

The 66-year-old female driver’s car landed 25 feet into the building after crashing through the north wall, Monroe County Sheriff Troy Goodnough said. The woman, whom authorities did not identify Saturday night, was taken into police custody on suspicion of operating while intoxicated causing death. She is held at the Monroe County Jail. Further charges are likely, Goodnough said.

“The scene was described by first responders as extremely chaotic, with high level of emotions of those directly involved and those who witnessed this horrific incident,” Goodnough said at a news conference Saturday night.

Ambulances and a survival flight helicopter were seen on Brancheau near the boat club as visibly distressed people arrived at the scene Saturday afternoon.


In all, 15 people, including children and adults, were injured. Emergency responders transferred three children and six adults to local hospitals in serious conditions. Several others were taken to hospitals in private vehicles, Goodnough said.

Officials received information that the woman may have been at Verna’s Tavern earlier. Authorities closed the bar, which was less than 5 miles from the boat club, for the day and were in the process of executing a search warrant to learn more about the day’s business, Goodnough said.

The incident at the boat club remains an active investigation as officials continue to process evidence at the scene, he said.

Responders who assisted at the scene included fire department officials from Berlin Township, Frenchtown Township, Monroe Township and Brockwood. Monroe Community and Huron Valley Community ambulances, in addition to two University of Michigan Survival Lifelight helicopters were also at the scene, he said.

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