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Michigan crash claims 2 lives

January 10, 2013

    Icy roadways have been blamed for a single-vehicle crash in southern Michigan Wednesday morning that left two area men dead and five others with various injuries.
    The St. Joseph County Sheriff's office said in a press release issued this morning that at 6:40 a.m. Wednesday a van driven by Kirk Wayne Miller, 30, of Keystone, Indiana, was westbound on Fawn River Road in White Pigeon Township, approximately 30 miles south of Kalamazoo, when Miller lost control and rolled the van into a tree.
    According to a spokeswoman with the St. Joseph (Michigan) Sheriff's Department, the van was carrying six passengers who were on their way to a construction site in Three Rivers, Michigan. The men reportedly are employees of DC Graber Construction of Pennville.
    Killed in the crash were Chris L. Eicher, 50, of Geneva, and Dan C. Graber, 48, of Portland. Both men were members of the Old Order Amish and were employed by DC Graber Company. Their obituaries appear on page 3.
    Another passenger, Menno Schwartz, 23, of Geneva, was airlifted to Bronson Hospital for treatment. His condition was unavailable this morning.
    Other occupants of the van included Amos Coblentz, 51, of Berne; James Hilty, 38, of Bryant; and Andy Stutzman, 55, of Monroe; and Miller. Law enforcement officials made no mention of injuries sustained by those individuals.
    According to the St. Joseph County Sheriff's Department report, none of the passengers were wearing seat belts. The incident remains under investigation.
    Police throughout southwest Michigan reportedly responded to multiple  reports Wednesday that roads were ice covered and slippery. In addition to the fatal crash in White Pigeon, deputies in St. Joseph County responded to two roll-over crashes.
    White Pigeon is only a few miles north of the Indiana line.
    
  

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