Driver faces charges in fatal crash

Published 9:18 am Thursday, July 23, 2009

Niles Daily Star

A Buchanan man will face charges after the vehicle he was driving early Wednesday morning crashed and rolled over in Buchanan nearĀ  the Brookwood Golf Course, killing his brother.

Scott Hill, 49 of Buchanan is being held at the Berrien County Jail on charges of operating a vehicle while intoxicated, in the third degree, causing death and driving while license was suspended in the second degree.

It was around 7:30 a.m. Wednesday morning when Hill and his brother, Russell Hill, 46 also of Buchanan, were traveling southbound on Rynearson Road in Buchanan.

According to Lt. Don Goulooze of the Berrien County Sheriff’s Department, “Mr. Hill was traveling at a high rate of speed and failed to negotiate a curve. His vehicle ran off the west side of the road and struck a small brick wall and a fire-hydrant that caused the vehicle to roll over on the passenger side.”

Some reports soon after the crash claimed that residents in the area had heard an explosion.
Investigating the scene of the accident after both brothers had been taken to Lakeland Hospital in Niles, Goulooze said that the noise heard by those residents was the sound of the vehicle, a 1991 Toyota 4-Runner as it crashed into the brick sign, sending debris across the street and into neighboring yards.

Neither of the brothers, according to Goulooze were wearing seat belts.

Russell was partially ejected from the vehicle.

Along with his brother, who suffered minor injuries, Russell was transported to Lakeland Hospital by Southwestern Michigan Community Ambulance Service, where he was pronounced dead.

Among the debris seen at the crash site, a broken Bud Light bottle lay in the street, not a few feet from a pair of eye glasses.
One of the vehicle’s tires lay near a tree in the yard of the home at the entrance into the subdivision.

Though the incident remains under investigation, the
Goulooze reported that upon the “initial investigation, it was found that Scott Hill had been drinking and was then arrested.”

By 10 a.m. Wednesday morning, members of the Berrien County Sheriff’s Department and the Buchanan Township Fire Department continued to investigate the scene.

The roadway was blocked off to through traffic as deputies investigated the scene.

The Berrien County Road Commission was expected to help in the cleanup.

Operating while intoxicated causing death is a felony charge.