BUCHANAN — Horrible shock. Deep, deep sadness. Sorrow.
Those were just a few of the emotions being expressed Saturday, Aug. 3, by people who knew all or some of the four people who died in a fatal crash Friday, Aug. 2, which occurred at 12:07 p.m. in Buchanan Township, according to Berrien County Sheriff’s Lt. Steve Campbell.
Killed in the crash shortly after noon Friday on North Main Street and Miller Road in Buchanan Township were Robert Klint, 66; his wife Melissa Klint, 60; their daughter Landyn Klint, 22, all of Sawyer; and Kent Williamson, 52, of Charlottesville, Va. They were traveling on Main Street in a 2000 Honday Accord when another car (a 2007 Ford Fusion) allegedly sped through a stop sign on Miller Road and hit them. The Berrien County Sheriff’s Office identified that driver as Dub Alan Collins, 53, of Buchanan Township. Police said alcohol may have been involved and a report will be sent to the Berrien County Prosecutor’s Office sometime this week.
Chief Deputy Robert Boyce said Saturday that Collins, who was in stable condition at Memorial Hospital in South Bend, is being held on a Michigan Department of Corrections parole detainer. According to MDOC records, he is on supervised parole until Dec. 11. His prior convictions include operating/maintaining a methamphetamine lab, larceny from a motor vehicle and delivery/manufacture of marijuana. A condition of his parole is that he not consume drugs or alcohol.
Heather Renee Collins, 39, of Buchanan Township, was a passenger in Collins’ vehicle and is also in stable condition at Memorial Hospital, Boyce said.
The Berrien County Crash Reconstruction Team was activated and at the scene.
Departments and agencies responding to the scene besides the Sheriff’s Department were the Buchanan city police and fire departments, the Buchanan Township fire department, the Berrien Springs/Oronoko Township Fire Department, Med Flight and the Southwestern Michigan Community Ambulance Service.
It’s not the first time the family of those killed has experienced tragedy. And it’s not the first time the man who allegedly caused the crash has been in trouble.
People who knew the Klint family were posting remembrances of them on Facebook Saturday. Williamson’s brother, Tex Williamson of Virginia, posted a message for anyone who thinks about driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol – Don’t.
In a Facebook post of his own, Tex Williamson said his father was hit by a drunken driver in a store parking lot 26 years ago and suffered a traumatic brain injury. Now, he said, his parents lost two children in one day, Kent Williamson and Melissa Klint, and he lost two siblings, a brother and sister.
“Four lives taken from one family spread across the country, all because someone thought they were OK to drive,” Tex Williamson stated.
Funeral arrangements for the Klints are being handled by Pike Funeral & Cremation Services of Bridgman.