Pickup Truck Hits Group of Protesters That Also Included Democratic Gubernatorial Candidate
FLINT, MICHIGAN — October 2, 2018
Michigan State Police are reporting nine people hurt in Flint after they were hit by a truck during their fast-food workers’ protest over the right to form unions. WEMTV5news offered a live broadcast:
It happened Tuesday morning on Dort Highway in Flint, and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Gretchen Whitmer was there.
According to the police, a burgundy Chevrolet pickup truck was driving north on Dort Highway about 7 a.m. on October 2 and ran into the crowd. After hitting the protesters, the truck veered into southbound traffic and was hit by a Consumers Energy truck. It’s still at the scene.
Flint Police Chief Tim Johnson said he saw four or five people on the ground but didn’t think the injuries were serious.
“The end of the group was walking down the street when a red truck — he almost acted liked he didn’t see them,” Johnson said. “He ran right into them.”
Though Johnson said he saw four or five people on the ground immediately after the crash, he later said a total of eight people were hospitalized, with two in serious condition, according to Sgt. Duane Zook. The others received non-life threatening injuries.
Candidate Whitmer said in a phone interview shortly after the crash that she had been out in front of the march. She didn’t see the crash but was alerted when people started yelling for the marchers to stop. She left in order to let first responders access the scene, she said.
Scherhera Schearer, a Service Employees International Union member, was there for the rally to raise the minimum wage to $15. She was in front of the crash and didn’t see it, but heard it.
“I don’t know where he came from,” she said.
“I’m upset. I have several brothers and sisters who are laying on the ground right now,” she said.
Police haven’t ruled out that the driver’s actions were intentional.
As for the demonstration, fast-food workers in many areas are walking off the job in protest over the right to form unions, as well as restaurant, airport, downtown business, hospital, in-home care, and child care workers. Protesters in Mid-Michigan can be seen wearing “Fight for $15” shirts.
Democrat Gretchen Whitmer was in Flint with the striking cooks and cashiers.
She tweeted, saying “I was in Flint for the rally this morning and am incredibly sad that so many people were hurt.”
Her campaign said she was at the front of the march, and the accident was near the back of the line.
Consumers Energy released the following statement:
Our thoughts are with all of those involved in today’s incident in Flint, Michigan. Two Consumers Energy employees were witnesses to an accident in Flint this morning when another vehicle sideswiped a company bucket truck as part of a multi-vehicle incident. There were no Consumers Energy employees injured and the truck was not damaged. Consumers Energy is cooperating with public safety officials as the incident is investigated.
Northbound and southbound M-54 (Dort Highway) were closed between Lippincott and Lapeer Roads due to the incident, though the highway has since re-opened. The investigation is ongoing.