Questions surround a grandfather’s death after he was hit by multiple vehicles on I-96 in Detroit

‘I’m really just trying to find out how he ended up on the freeway’

DETROIT – It’s the unthinkable to happen to a senior citizen as a hit-and-run accident took the life of 72-year-old Michael Thomas on I-96 in Detroit.

It wasn’t just one vehicle but multiple cars that hit Thomas. So much has become a mystery since his death.

“It was tragic because I can just imagine a dog on a freeway when I see them all hit up, and then I figured that probably is how my granddad looked like raw meat just spread it across the freeway,” said Thomas’ grand daughter, Brittney Lipsey.

Lipsey hates thinking of how her grandfather died on Halloween night.

“Roadkill, that’s exactly what I imagined,” Lipsey said.

Thomas’ body was found in the right lane of the eastbound side of I-96 near Livernois around 2 a.m. Investigators say his body was hit multiple times, yet no one stopped to check on him.

“I do understand people traveling on the freeway at high speeds arranged they probably don’t pay attention, especially at sorting more than they could have been paid for anything,” Lipsey said. “But I know if I was on a freeway and I felt I hit something that hard I would have wanted to turn around and see what I hit, but I’m pretty sure they didn’t do that.”

A lot of the story is just unusual. Many loved ones like Lipsey are looking for answers. The 72-year-old was found on the interstate thirty minutes away from his home in Royal Oak.

The last anyone heard from him was around 8 p.m. that same evening.

“I’m really just trying to find out how he ended up on the freeway,” Lipsey said. “He texted his girlfriend at 8:36 p.m. and told her good night. He was going to bed, so he doesn’t even leave the house after nine o’clock, though. He had to have a good reason for someone to get them out of their house. I don’t know what transpired between then. But he never made it back home.”

As of now, the investigation is still open. Michigan State Police says officers did smell alcohol on Thomas’ body. Either way, that doesn’t say much about how he ended up on the interstate, to begin with.

“He was just a chill, cool guy,” Lipsey said. “He just pretty much stayed in the house. Kept to himself, and that was about it. He didn’t bother nobody or nothing. Funny old man.”

Lipsey wishes one of the drivers could have just pulled over. And As confusing as it all is, she says her grandpa would have lived an even longer life had this never happened.

“He didn’t have no mental problems or nothing,” Lipsey said. “He was in good health. He had prostate cancer. That’s the only bad thing that was going on. But he was totally mentally fine.”

Thomas leaves behind multiple grandchildren who will never see his face again.

About the Authors:

Victor Williams joined Local 4 News in October of 2019 after working for WOIO in Cleveland, OH, WLOX News in Biloxi, MS, and WBBJ in Jackson, TN. Victor developed a love for journalism after realizing he was a great speaker and writer at an early age.

Brandon Carr is a digital content producer for ClickOnDetroit and has been with WDIV Local 4 since November 2021. Brandon is the 2015 Solomon Kinloch Humanitarian award recipient for Community Service.