Howard Township vehicle crash injures two, causes residential fire

Published 4:36 pm Monday, October 17, 2022

HOWARD TOWNSHIP — Two local residents were injured Monday after a two-vehicle crash caused a residential fire in Cass County, according to the Cass County Sheriff’s Office.

Sheriff Richard J. Behnke reports his deputies were dispatched to the 1300 block of Barron Lake Rd., Howard Township, for a vehicle that had crashed into a residence. This crash occurred at approximately 7:33 a.m. Monday. 

Initial investigation showed the driver, 33-year-old Niles resident Justin Miller, was traveling south on Barron Lake Rd. Miller’s vehicle struck the back of the vehicle driven by 53-year-old Dowagiac resident Janis Mix, who was also traveling south on Barron Lake Rd.  

Miller’s vehicle then ran off the roadway right, hitting a mailbox, and then the side of a residence. Miller’s vehicle struck the gas line on the side of the residence, causing the residence and vehicle to set on fire.   

The homeowner did not sustain injuries from the crash or fire, and Miller was not in the vehicle when it caught on fire. Miller was transported by SMCAS ambulance to Lakeland Niles hospital, for injuries sustained during the crash. Mix went by private transportation to Lakeland Niles hospital, for injuries sustained during the crash. 

Seatbelts were worn at the time of the crash. It is unknown if drugs or alcohol were contributing factors in this crash. This crash remains under investigation.  

Assisting agencies at the scene were the Michigan State Police, Howard Township Fire Department, Edwardsburg Fire Department, Buchanan Township Fire Department, Niles City Fire Department, Niles Township Fire Department, Pokagon Township Fire Department, Dowagiac Fire Department, Indian Lake Fire Department, Clay Fire Department, and SMCAS Ambulance.