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Shelby Township

Two killed in single-vehicle crash on M-53

August 15, 2013

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The Honda Civic involved in a rollover crash that killed Nathan James Schroeder, 28, of Sterling Heights, and Sunshine Chaffin, 33, of Fenton, Aug. 14 sits in the Shelby Township Police Department’s impound lot.

At 9:20 p.m. Aug. 14, police arrived at the scene of a single-car crash on southbound M-53, near the 22 Mile Road overpass, that killed Nathan James Schroeder, 28, of Sterling Heights, and Sunshine Chaffin, 33, of Fenton.

Schroeder was driving and Chaffin was the passenger. Both were pronounced dead at the scene.

The car, according to witnesses, had been driving up to 100 miles an hour and weaving in and out of traffic prior to the crash. The preliminary police investigation indicated that the vehicle left the freeway, rolled several times and came to a halt in a heavily wooded area.

Police Chief Roland Woelkers said the pair likely was killed on impact and that Chaffin was ejected from the vehicle while Schroeder remained inside.

“(The wreck) was one of the worst ones I’ve ever seen,” he said. “The car was totally crushed and collapsed.”

It appeared that neither occupant of the vehicle was wearing a seat belt, according to the press release, and alcohol may have been a factor in the incident.

“Alcohol was present in the car, but that doesn’t indicate drinking,” Woelkers said. “The toxicology reports will come back in from the medical examiner and autopsies in anywhere up to two months.”

The vehicle was a Honda Civic that Woelkers said was hopped up a bit with a little added horsepower and racing equipment.

Police did not clear the freeway until about 3 a.m. Aug. 15.

An ongoing investigation is being conducted. Any witnesses to the crash should contact the Shelby Township Police Department at (586) 731-2121.

About the author

Staff Writer Sarah Wojcik covers Shelby Township and Utica for the Shelby-Utica News. Sarah has worked for C & G Newspapers since 2013 and attended Oakland University. She won a first place 2013 Excellence in Journalism award for open government reporting and a second place 2014 Excellence in Journalism award for a series of explanatory stories from the Detroit chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.

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