3-year-old boy killed when family SUV hits tree on Detroit's west side

Records shows man should not have been driving


DETROIT – A 3-year-old boy was killed Tuesday morning in when a family's sport utility vehicle struck a tree on Detroit's west side.

Two other children -- girls aged 6 and 9 -- and their 34-year-old father are hospitalized with injuries.

The crash happened on Fenmore Street at Florence Street near McNichols Road and the Southfield Freeway.

Police said the 3-year-old boy was not properly restrained in his car seat. Police also said the driver either fell asleep or was hit by another car that caused his Ford Escape to veer head on into the tree. Police say the Escape was traveling at a high rate of speed.

The cause of this deadly crash remains under investigation. Police have confirmed the driver did not have a valid license due to numerous infractions including two drunken driving convictions.

"He struck a tree. We're not sure if he fell asleep or if there was another accident -- someone may have touched him. We're getting conflicting stories on that," said Assistant Police Chief Steve Dolunt. "We know the airbags deployed. The youngest child who is 3 -- the little boy -- was in a car seat. He was (dead) at the scene. Apparently he wasn't strapped in properly."

The girls and their father were scooped up by a nurse who lives nearby. She rushed them to the hospital. Many other neighbors helped out.

"It's a good neighborhood," said Dolunt. "These people care about each other. Most of these houses are well-kept. I give them credit for being involved."

A family member told Local 4 one of the injured girls has died at the hospital. However, police have not confirmed that.