Marijuana use, high speed involved in fatal November crash
ESCANABA — A police investigation has determined that marijuana use and high speed were part of the circumstances in a multi vehicle crash in Escanaba that claimed the lives of two people and injured several others, according to the Escanaba Department of Public Safety.
The crash occurred around 5:49 p.m. on Nov. 25 — Thanksgiving — on the 1500 block of North Lincoln Road in Escanaba. Kelly Marie Piquette, 60, and Tony John Hurkmans, 61, both of Escanaba, were killed in the crash. Seven other people were injured.
The Escanaba Department Of Public Safety issued a press release Wednesday detailing circumstances of the crash following a police investigation.
The accident involved three vehicles and resulted in two fatalities, five serious injuries and two minor injuries. Michigan State Police accident reconstructionists, as well as officers from Escanaba Public Safety, reviewed data from the vehicle and determined the at-fault vehicle was traveling at over 70 mph at the time of the impact, according to police.
“Additionally, detectives conducted an interview of a witness who was an occupant of the at-fault vehicle involved in the accident. According to the witness, the driver, identified as Tony Hurkmans, along with the other occupants of the vehicle, had smoked marijuana in the vehicle shortly before the accident had occurred. The marijuana appeared to the witness to be a pre-rolled joint that was purchased from a marijuana dispensary. According to the witness, Hurkmans appeared to have a reaction to the marijuana, including coughing and appearing to lose consciousness just prior to the collision,” the press release stated.
A blood sample of Hurkmans’ was analyzed by the Michigan State Police Forensic Lab and revealed a high level of active marijuana in his system at the time of his death. Hurkmans’ blood sample also revealed levels of gabapentin, citalopram, topiramate and buprenorphine. Hurkmans did not have alcohol in his system at the time of the accident, according to the police investigation.
Escanaba Public Safety was assisted by Michigan State Police, Rampart EMS, OSF, Delta County Central Dispatch, Delta County Sheriff Department, Guardian Flight, Ford River Volunteer Fire Department, Escanaba Township Fire Department, Genes Towing and the Delta County Road Commission.