A Newberry man was one of three people injured in a serious accident on M-117 on Thursday, December 12. The accident took place at 3:26 p.m., in near white-out conditions. The highway was covered with snow, and lane lines were not visible.
The Michigan State Police reported that Eric Nalette of Newberry was driving north on the highway when his truck collided head-on with a southbound truck being driven by Derek Orban and Jeramie Schultz of Alpena. The accident happened at the Luce-Mackinac county line, where there are pull-out lanes for county vehicles to turn around.
A Tahquamenon Area Schools bus was waiting in one of those side lanes when the accident occurred. The bus driver was unable to call out on the radio to report the accident, and it was a student who first dialed 911 on a cell phone. All students remained safely on the bus.
Nalette and Orban were stuck in their vehicles. Schultz emerged from the vehicle he was riding in, but was not able to do more than that, witnesses said.
Upon arrival to the accident, police found Orban unconscious and severely injured. All three men were taken alive to Helen Newberry Joy hospital. Orban and Schultz were transferred to U.P. Health Systems – Marquette. Orban remained in critical condition as of Sunday, December 15.
Because of the severity of the accident, M-117 was closed for about five hours while the accident was investigated. The Michigan State Police were assisted by the Luce County Sheriff’s Office, Luce County EMS, Garfield Township EMS and Fire, Michigan Department of Transportation, MSP St. Ignace Post, Luce County Auxiliary, and Great Lakes Towing.
The accident is still under investigation.