Two Dead After Storm in Mid-Michigan; One K-9

By: Alyssa Fenske Email
By: Alyssa Fenske Email

(WILX)-- At least two people are dead after winds knocked down trees and power lines Sunday night.

One was a man who was in his backyard in Perry, the other a 21-year-old man driving to Leslie.

The first accident happened in Rives Township, near Leslie, at 7:43 pm. Twenty-one year old Ryan Rickman from Oklahoma was driving home from a rodeo. He had been visiting his girlfriend who lives in Leslie at the time.

"He had apparently struck a tree that was in the process of falling or had fallen, and he stuck it," said Sheriff Steven Rand with Jackson County.

The car was crushed and according to the sheriff, Rickman was likely killed on impact. The neighbors that were first to the scene say he was gone by the time they got there to help.

"I took my car and went down there with my lights. I called back and told them they would need the jaws of life because he was pinned in the car," said Jim Hobbs. Hobbs who lives next to where the accident happened on Churchill Road, north of Perrine Road.

A little more than three hours later, 59-year-old Philip Smith in Perry was also killed. Smith got tangled in a downed power line in his backyard, after he went to check on a large noise.

His family says he didn't see the high voltage wires, and was probably checking out the sparks/small fire the storm had started.
Shiawasee County Sheriffs Department has ruled Smith's death as electrocution.

It wasn't just people that were harmed from Sunday nights storm. Ingham County K-9 Luger was hit by a car after the storm caused a tree to fall on his kennel, and he escaped.

"Storm came through. It took out his kennel along with his back fence and his whole back yard. Deputy Harris went out to get his dog to go to work and realized the whole back yard was destroyed," said Sgt. Melissa Brown with the Ingham County Sheriffs Department.

Deputy Harris and Luger served seven years together at the sheriffs department. Luger was buried there Monday morning.

"Some people think it's just a dog, but he was his partner. He went to work with him, went home with him, he was with him 24-7. Deputy Harris is taking it hard as to be expected," said Sgt. Brown.

Any death, even ones that are accidents are tragic, but according to Sheriff Rand with the number of calls they got Sunday night, it's surprising there weren't more injuries or deaths.


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