Police identify man, woman killed in wrong-way crash on I-75

Photo courtesy of the Grand Blanc Township Police Department.
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GRAND BLANC TOWNSHIP (WJRT) (11/27/2019) - Grand Blanc Township police are identifying the two people killed in a wrong-way crash on I-75 late Monday.

Investigators say 60-year-old William Jeffrey Bertt of Flint may have been intoxicated when he got on I-475 going the wrong way at Robert T. Longway Boulevard around 11 p.m.

He drove southbound in the northbound lanes down to the junction with I-75 in Grand Blanc Township and continued the wrong way on I-75, Grand Blanc Township police say.

The Genesee County 911 Communications Center received 10 calls complaining of Bertt's reckless driving, officials there say.

Bertt crashed head-on into 25-year-old Laura Katelyn Osaer near the Grand Blanc Road overpass on I-75. Both of them were pronounced dead of their injuries.

According to a report from the National Transportation Safety Board, 360 people die each year on average because of wrong-way crashes. The wrong way driver was under the influence of alcohol in about 60% of those crashes.

Wrong-way crashes only account for 3% of all traffic crashes, but they are much more likely to result in death or serious injury. One in four wrong-way crashes resulted in death, according to a 2012 study in Michigan.

Experts offered the following tips for motorists who encounter a wrong-way driver:

-- Always look ahead when driving. This will increase the chance of spotting a car approaching and give more time to get out of the way.

-- The NTSB says about 70% of wrong-way crashes happen overnight and on the weekends, so drivers should be extra cautious during those times.

-- Drive in the right lane, because wrong-way drivers are more likely to travel in the left lane.

-- Drivers usually only have seconds to act if a wrong-way driver is approaching, so pull over rather than slam on the brakes.

-- Call 911 after spotting any wrong-way drivers. The quicker drivers act, the more likely they are to help save someone's life.

Michigan is piloting a new program aimed at stopping wrong-way drivers.

Last year, the Michigan Department of Transportation installed a Wrong Way Alert System at an I-94 interchange east of Jackson. Cameras detect wrong-way vehicles and activate bright, flashing LED warning lights.

The alert system is the first of its kind in Michigan. It already being used in other states, such as Arizona and Florida.