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Three die in Van Buren County crash

5:51 PM, Nov 14, 2012   |    comments
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  • Photo from Van Buren Co. Sheriff
  • Photo from Van Buren Co. Sheriff
  • Photo from Van Buren Co. Sheriff
  • Photo from Van Buren Co. Sheriff
  • Brittney King on her Facebook page
  • Photo from Van Buren Co. Sheriff
    

GENEVA TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WZZM) - A 32-year-old Alabama man is expected to be charged Wednesday afternoon in connection with a deadly crash near South Haven in Van Buren County. 

The crash happened around 7 p.m. Tuesday on County Road 388 near South Haven. 

Investigators say the Alabama man admitted to drinking before the crash, and had a history of convictions.

A woman's glove and a rear view mirror are among the debris at the crash scene on County Road 388.  

Liana Bodtke works across the street and now realizes what she passed on the road Tuesday night.

"It did not have to happen. If he had just called a friend and said, 'Come pick me up'," says Bodtke.  "He should not have been driving."

According to the Van Buren County Sheriff's Department, the driver of a Ford F-150 pickup truck is expected to face felony charges of operating a vehicle while intoxicated causing death.

"The pickup truck crossed the center line after it was attempting to pass another motor vehicle and struck that Pontiac Grand Prix head on," says Sgt. David Walker with the Van Buren County Sheriff's Department.

Inside the Grand Prix, 24-year-old Brittney King of Bangor, 4-year-old Cassadi Berryhill and 2-year-old Kandice Berryhill were all killed in the crash. The children's father, Justin Berryhill, was taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries, as was the driver of the pickup truck.

Following the crash, investigators say the driver of the pickup truck was confused, but admitted he'd been drinking.

Investigators say the pick up truck driver has a number of prior convictions, including driving while impaired and seven convictions for driving on a suspended license.

"With any consumption of alcohol resulting in the death of three people, it's unacceptable," says Sgt. Walker.

Investigators don't believe the children were in proper safety seats.

"The father's got to live with that the rest of his life," says Bodtke.

Each count of operating a vehicle while intoxicated causing death is punishable by 15 years in prison.

The crash also involved a third vehicle, an Oldsmobile Alero.  The 38-year-old South Haven woman driving the Alero was not injured.

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