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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Two children killed when suspected drunk driver plows into birthday party

A driver crashed her vehicle through a building where a children’s birthday party was taking place Saturday afternoon, April 20, 2024, killing an 8-year-old girl and her 5-year-old brother while injuring more than a dozen others at a boat club in Monroe County’s Berlin Township. (Dreamstime/TNS)  (TNS)
By Kim Bellware Washington Post

An 8-year-old girl and her 5-year-old brother were killed when a suspected drunk driver plowed into a child’s birthday party at a Michigan boat club Saturday, in a devastating crash that injured 15 others.

A 66-year-old woman driving an SUV slammed into the side of the Swan Boat Club about 3 p.m. and continued about 25 feet into the building before coming to a stop, Monroe County Sheriff Troy Goodnough said during a Saturday news conference. The driver, whom police have not publicly identified, was taken into custody on charges of operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated and causing death, and is expected to face additional charges. Goodnough said the driver was cooperating with investigators.

“The scene was described by the first responders as ‘extremely chaotic,’ with (a) high level of emotions of those directly involved and those who witnessed the horrific incident,” Goodnough said.

Gasps rippled through the room when Goodnough, in a trembling voice, said the two young party attendees pronounced dead at the scene were siblings. Six adults and three children were rushed to the hospital by ambulance and helicopter with serious injuries after the crash at the creekside boat club in Berlin Township, roughly 30 miles south of Detroit.

Video of the crash captured by doorbell camera shows a black SUV speeding through the boat club’s parking lot before crashing out of the frame and sending plumes of smoke and dust into the air.

Authorities said they were investigating a local tavern several miles away, where the suspect was believed to have been served before the fatal crash.

“We went in, we shut the business down, and we executed a search warrant into the business conducted that day,” Goodnough said.

The Swan Boat Club said in a Facebook post that it would remain closed Sunday and asked the community for prayers and support for the victims’ families.