2 BC men die in 3rd Kalamazoo River crash since November

Crews work after a vehicle was pulled from the Kalamazoo River in Battle Creek (March 17, 2017).

BATTLE CREEK, Mich. (WOOD) — Another vehicle has crashed into the Kalamazoo River near Downtown Battle Creek resulting in tragedy.

Friday morning’s crash killed two Battle Creek men: the driver, 31-year-old Marcus Parsons and his passenger, 30-year-old Deshauta Marshall. Family members contacted by 24 Hour News 8 believe the men are cousins.

Officers say the car was headed west on Dickman Road at a high rate of speed when it hit the concrete side of the Capitol Avenue bridge and rolled into the river.

Experts were on the scene Friday, making sure the bridge was not compromised by the wreck.

Crumpled fencing along the Kalamazoo River shows where a vehicle crashed into the water — not far from a similar deadly crash weeks earlier.

“Apparently is didn’t hit it enough to damage the bridge,” concluded Al Halbeisen, an engineer with OHM.

Battle Creek officers on patrol heard and saw the first signs of trouble around 4:10 a.m. Friday.

“I’m not sure if it was lights going in the air or there was a fire related with the accident,” said Battle Creek Police Department Lt. Matt Robinson.

Officers were on the scene in about a minute. That’s when they saw the car on its roof, floating down the river.

“The vehicle was recovered about 1,700 (feet,) maybe 1,800 feet to the west,” said Robinson, stopping below the Washington Street bridge.

Robinson says the more severe injuries to the two passengers were most likely from the impact of the collision.

Friday marked the third time since November a car has gone into the river in roughly the same 75-foot vicinity of the Capitol Avenue bridge.

The intoxicated driver of a stolen car escaped injury when he crashed into the river in November.

Then on March 4, another driver crashed not far from Friday’s incident. The car was recovered on March 12, but the driver is still missing.

Early information suggests speed factored into both of the most recent crashes. Police question if more could be done to prevent the vehicles from going in the water.

“At this point is it coincidence? I don’t know. I’m assuming speed is related in all of them.” says Robinson.

He says while three in four months seems like a lot, they’re also the first crashes he’s seen there in his 23 years with the department.

“We have not had any structural changes down there… differences or changes to the road. (No changes in) any conditions that I would identify as being ‘Hey, that could lead to causing any of this,” said Robinson.

Police are analyzing the vehicle’s black box, hoping to determine exactly how fast it was going and any other details that may help with the investigation.