4 die, 5 hurt in Kent-Muskegon crash

The scene of a fatal crash on M-46/M-37 (Apple Avenue) between Newaygo Road and Waterloo Street south of Casnovia. (Jan. 31, 2014)

CASNOVIA TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — The four women who died in a crash early Friday on M-46 were all from the same family — two of them sisters, a relative told 24 Hour News 8.

Three of the women had children.

“It’s bad. It’s killing us. There’s no words for it,” said Andrea Ceja, who lost two aunts and two cousins in the crash.

Muskegon County deputies confirmed the names of those who died: Erika Ceja, 34, Angelica Magana-Ceja, 44, Teresa Alvarez, 34, and Jessica Magana, 22, all from Newaygo.

Erika Ceja and Angelica Magana-Ceja were sisters.

“Erika was a single mother, so she had to work you know,” Andrea Ceja said. “They took work very serious.”

They were among six women, all related, heading to work together in a Chevrolet Trailblazer at 6:30 a.m. Friday on M-46 near the Kent-Muskegon County line.

Deputies confirmed they were headed to an apple packaging plant on 10 Mile Road NE near Sparta. They were about 12 miles away.

Deputies said they were headed east on M-46 when the SUV spun, possibly due to snow-covered roads, crossed the center line, and collided with a westbound pickup truck occupied by three men.

“There are some slippery spots,” Muskegon County Sheriff Dean Roesler said. “The scene of the crash is icy but there’s also been a lot of traffic that’s been through that as well that may have created some of it.”

Deputies said they believe 25-year-old Perla Magana, the daughter of one of the victims, was at the wheel of the SUV.

Perla Magana and another passenger, Leticia Ceja, were treated at Butterworth Hospital and released.

They said two of the women were not wearing seat belts and were thrown from the SUV. They believe one of those women was riding in back, where there is no seat.

The crash closed M-46 between Newaygo Road and Waterloo Street for about five hours as deputies investigated.

The three men in the pickup, who are paint contractors, were headed to a unspecified job site in Fremont. They were treated and released at Butterworth.

An off-duty police police detective, an off-duty nurse, and other passersby stopped at the scene to help the victims.

The detective, who remains anonymous at this time, is a 17-year veteran with the Grand Rapids Police Department. He was on his way to drop his children off at their school and then going to his workplace, according to a news release. He was able to help organize rescue efforts, and provided aid to the victims, including CPR, along with the other bystanders.

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