Three people have been killed and two others injured after the sport-utility vehicle they were in smashed into a tree in West Michigan's Calhoun County.
According to police, the accident happened at 3:30 p.m. Monday. The vehicle, a 2013 Ford Explorer, was traveling eastbound on Interstate 94 near Verona Road when it ran off the highway and struck a tree.
The driver, 55-year-old William Gatesy, was pronounced dead at the scene. His 53-year-old wife, Dawn, and their 28-year-old son, William III, also died on scene.
The remaining two passengers, an 81-year-old woman and a 27-year-old man, were transported to a Kalamazoo hospital where they are recovering from non- life threatening injuries.
All of the passengers were from Allen Park.
The accident closed eastbound I-94 for an hour.
The cause of the crash is still under investigation.
Allen Park neighbors grieve for family
"One of the greatest families you'll ever meet in your life. They were so close," said Samantha Bossetti, a neighbor.
Dawn Gatsey was a paraprofessional with Wyandotte Public Schools. She was the neighbor everyone looked up to.
"Always had a smile on her face, was always having fun ... loved her family more than life itself," said Samantha Bosetti.
William Gatesy was a former Allen Park city employee. He was a hockey coach and referee.
"He didn't sugar-coat anything. If you needed a kick in your but, Bill would be there to do it," said neighbor Matthew Bosetti.
The couple's son, Billy, was just 28 years old.
"He lit up a room, honestly, if you were having a bad day it didn't matter," said Samantha Bosetti.
Police say the father was driving when the SUV veered off the highway. They say a medical problem may have played a roll in the crash.
"It really doesn't matter what age you are, you're a friend to (Billy) no matter what age," said Whitney Rivera, a friend.
William and Dawn are survived by two daughters and two grandchildren.
"They would do anything. Give you the shirt off your back just to make sure you're OK, and that's how I'll always remember that family," said Rivera.
Memorial Fund Page:http://www.giveforward.com/gatesymemorial