The Ionia County Sheriff's Office continues to investigate the tragic accident that resulted in the death of two bicyclists and injuries to three others. The investigation shows that Mandy Marie Benn, 42 Ionia was traveling north bound on Stage Rd. A UPS truck that was traveling north bound in front of Benn began slowing down to stop. Benn moved into the south bound lane to go around the UPS truck and into the path of the group of bicyclists. It does not appear that Benn saw the on coming bicyclists prior to impact. This incident took place on a straight roadway with no vision obstructions and was not intersection related.
Mandy Benn was arraigned in the 64A District Court in front of Judge Vote on the following charges:
Two counts of Operating while intoxicated causing death/Operating a vehicle while under the influence of a controlled substance– 15-year felony
One count of Operating while Intoxicated/ Operating a vehicle while under the influence of a controlled substance – 93-day misdemeanor
Second Offence Notice Operating while Intoxicated – 1 year misdemeanor
Benn is being held on a 1,000,000 cash/surety bond at the Ionia County Jail.
The decedents in this case have been identified as Edward Erickson, 48, of Ann Arbor, MI and Michael Salhaney, 57, of Bloomfield Hills, MI.
The other three victims of this horrific crash are receiving continued medical care or have received medical treatment at various hospitals around lower Michigan. One of the victims is in serious but stable condition at last check and is expected to recover. The other two victims were treated and released from the hospital. Their names are not being released at this time.
Original news release:
On Saturday, July 30, 2022 at 11:15am, Ionia County Central Dispatch received a 911 call about a car that had run into a group of bicyclists in the 3000 block of Stage Rd of Ronald Township in Ionia County.
Ionia County Sheriff’s Deputies, MSP Lakeview Troopers, Ionia Department of Public Safety Officers, Lyons/Muir Fire Department, Ronald Township Fire Department, LIFE EMS, and Aero Med were all deployed to the scene, and it was immediately discovered to be a vehicular mass-casualty incident.
Investigation at the scene determined that 5 cyclists had been struck while they were cycling south bound on Stage Rd by a northbound SUV that crossed the center line into northbound traffic while trying to pass another vehicle.
The impact caused critical injuries to all the cyclists, and emergency responders worked diligently to preserve the lives of the victims. Unfortunately, one cyclist was immediately pronounced deceased at the scene. Another cyclist was flown by Aero Med to Spectrum Butterworth in Grand Rapids, MI, but also died from his injuries.
Two other cyclists were transported by LIFE EMS to Sparrow Ionia Hospital, and the 5th cyclist was transported by LIFE EMS to Spectrum Butterworth. All three of the surviving cyclists had severe injuries.
The driver of the vehicle which struck the bicyclists was evaluated and arrested for two counts of Operating While Intoxicated Causing Death, and after receiving medical treatment was lodged at the Ionia County Jail. That driver’s name will not be released pending formal charges and arraignment.
The cyclists are not being named at this time, with ongoing efforts to ensure their family members are given ample opportunity for notification of death or injury. All 5 of the cyclists are men, and all are from the east side of the state. All five of the men were participating in the Make a Wish Bicycle Tour, a three day endurance ride covering most of the State of Michigan.
Further information will not be released at this time, more information may be released early next week as the investigation continues.