Autopsy says driver health not factor in fatal crash
The driver in an accident that killed five and left four — including an MSU freshman — seriously injured, did not suffer any health issues that would cause him to cross a median into oncoming traffic.
An autopsy report released Tuesday indicated the driver, 18-year-old Okemos resident Matthew Kolstoe, appears to have been physically stable when the 2002 Toyota Prius crossed the median on US-23, said Bader J. Cassin of the Washtenaw County Medical Examiner’s Office.
After crossing the traffic lanes, the Prius struck a 2003 Chevrolet Blazer, killing the man and woman in the front seat and seriously injuring the three children in the backseat.
Cassin said he had seen cases similar to Kolstoe’s where the cause of the distraction was not initially recognizable.
“They might have been distracted by something external to themselves,” Cassin said. “He might have been distracted by people in the car with him, he may have fallen asleep … he may have had some substance in his body.”
Results from the substance test could take two to four weeks to process, Cassin said.
Humphrey Petersen-Jones, an MSU freshman and the only person in the Prius to survive the crash, was in fair condition Tuesday at the University of Michigan Hospital in Ann Arbor, University of Michigan Health System Spokesperson Christy Barnes said.
Barnes said the “fair” condition meant Petersen-Jones was conscious and had a favorable prognosis.
Petersen-Jones sustained multiple leg, arm, spine and skull fractures, as well as pulmonary contusions, Petersen-Jones’ father, Simon Petersen-Jones, said in an e-mail.
Humphrey Petersen-Jones was in critical condition Sunday night following the accident. He underwent surgery Monday at the University of Michigan’s Trauma Burn Center.
Simon Petersen-Jones said his son will have several surgeries in the upcoming weeks.
To commemorate Kolstoe and show support for Humphrey Petersen-Jones, a Facebook group was formed encouraging students to wear formal clothing, or “suit up” Wednesday.
The event also is extended to remember the two others killed in the Sunday crash: 19-year-old Okemos resident Heather Comstock and 18-year-old Williamston resident Sarina Seger, as well as Josh Eady, an East Lansing high school student who was killed in a separate car crash Sunday in Missouri, which also killed his father and his sister, Whitney Eady.
Lyman Briggs sophomore Nishan Harichandran, the group’s founder, said the idea for the group stemmed from a Facebook status he posted referencing an “International Suit Up Day” event, saying he would be suiting up in memory of Kolstoe, as well as the others in the car with him during the crash.
Harichandran’s brother saw the status, and suggested Harichandran make an actual event.
“Everybody’s suiting up,” Harichandran said. “We’re going to show (the families) how much the community is there for them.”
Harichandran and Kolstoe ran cross country together in high school, and Harichandran remembers his former teammate as a humble and positive person.
“He never made fun of anyone else,” Harichandran said. “He never put anyone else down.”
On Tuesday night, the event had more than 2,000 people who had agreed to participate.
Simon Petersen-Jones said he and his wife Bryden were “overwhelmed and hugely grateful for the overwhelming outpouring of support and care from the Okemos High School and Michigan State Community.”