9 injured in 5-vehicle crash on M-553 Wednesday

MARQUETTE – Nine people were injured in a four-vehicle crash on M-553 Wednesday afternoon. They were taken to Marquette General Hospital to be treated for minor injuries.

Marquette County Sheriff’s Office responded to the crash, which occured at approximately 4:20 p.m. at the intersection of Flodin Road in Sands Township.

Names have been released identifying the drivers and occupants. The driver of the 2003 Chevrolet pick-up truck that caused the crash is Justin Sleeter, 26, of Ishpeming. The driver of the first pick-up truck involved, a 2012 Ford F-150, is Steven Wallenius, 57, of Alpena; his passengers were Phyllis Wallenius, 58, also from Alpena, and four children with ages ranging from 4 to 11 years old. The third pick-up truck involved, a 2001 GMC Sierra, was driven by Dan Keller, 61, of Gwinn. And the northbound pick-up truck, a 2001 GMC Sierra towing the trailer, was operated by Bart Olsen, 67, of Marquette.

Steven and Phyllis Wallenius were admitted to MGH for observation. All other drivers and occupants were treated and released.

Sleeter was cited for careless driving and operating a motor vehicle without insurance.

The first two trucks were stopped in the southbound left lanes of M-553 attempting to turn left onto Flodin Road. Another southbound truck approaching from the rear failed to stop and struck the second truck from behind, causing it to strike the first truck. The force of the crash caused the first truck to cross the southbound lanes and come to rest in the ditch on the west side of M-553. The second pick-up attempting to turn left was forced into the northbound lane of M-553, striking a northbound pick-up truck with an attached trailer hauling scrap metal. The northbound truck and trailer were overturned, coming to rest on the shoulder. The vehicle that caused the crash ended up on the southeast shoulder of the intersection.

M-553 was closed for approximately one hour.

The Sheriff’s office was assisted by Forsyth Township Police Department, Michigan State Police, Sands Township Fire and EMS, Chocolay Township Fire Department, Forsyth Township EMS, Marquette County Rescue 131 and MGH EMS.

Mary Wardell can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 248.