Man who hit 22 gravestones had no insurance, leaving few options for families

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GRAND BLANC TOWNSHIP (WJRT) (8/13/2019) - "It was hard to find out the way we did," Brenda Branton said.

She and her sister Carol Osborne were at a family picnic in June when their niece asked how the top corner of her grandparents headstone had been broken and where the potted plant next to it went.

The two showed up to the Maple Cemetery in Grand Blanc Township to see for themselves.

"It was a mess. Everything was off, you know; and, I could tell it had been damaged, my sons, my mom and dad's. But it was awful," Branton said. "There were tire tracks everywhere, you know; and, it's just devastating."

Branton buried her 5-year-old son who died of leukemia on this plot in 1981. She planted a tree right behind it a year later, that's been uprooted and she believes thrown out.

"They said they found my headstone and tree by the road. So, I don't know where the tree went," she said.

"I started crying, you know; because we've had this over here for so long, they've been gone for so long," Osborne said.

Those are just two of the 22 grave sites Grand Blanc Township Police say a driver hit on June 21st. He had a medical emergency and ended up driving through the cemetery.

"I'm glad that the man's okay. I know accidents do happen; but like I said, we can't afford to go out and buy new ones. Because I imagine they're probably triple by now," Branton said. "So, we would appreciate any help we could come up with."

Branton added they called the man's insurance company, but his coverage has lapsed. So now, they're only option is to sue, which they aren't sure they want to do.

"It's a good place for us to come and sit with them and put flowers and things like that. I just - I hate seeing it like that," Osborne added.

The Township owns the cemetery and has cleaned up much of the mess.

The sisters are encouraging anyone with loved ones buried there to take a look for themselves.

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