Teens who died in crash were heading to Michigan’s Adventure

August 1, 2014
Nick Smith and Casey O'Brien.

Nick Smith and Casey O’Brien.

By Rob Alway. Editor-in-Chief.

PERE MARQUETTE TWP. — A day that was meant to be filled with fun at Michigan’s Adventure Amusement Park turned tragic Thursday afternoon. Mason County Sheriff Kim Cole said in a statement this morning that investigators believe, based on interviews and the driver’s cell phone’s GPS application, that the two teens who died on Pere Marquette Highway were on their way to the Muskegon County amusement park.

Casey Jean O’Brien, 19, of Branch was driving a 2004 Chevrolet Cavalier and was pulled over on the shoulder of the road, just south of the southbound U.S. 31 on-ramp. She made a U-turn in front of a semi truck driven by Brett Couturier, 28, of Ludington, who was heading south of Pere Marquette Highway.

Casey was pronounced dead at the scene. Her 18-year-old passenger, and boyfriend, Nicholas Allen Smith, 18, of Baldwin, died at Spectrum Health Ludington Hospital. The two were the mother and father of a 5-month-old girl, Grace Ann, who was not in the vehicle at the time of the crash.

Also injured was Nicholas’ 10-year-old sister, Mackenzie Smith. She was transported by AeroMed air ambulance to Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital in Grand Rapids.

Casey graduated this year from Mason County Central High School. Nick would have been a senior at MCC this coming school year.

Teacher Patrick Shinn described Casey as “one of the sweetest and kindest students I’ve ever had. Her smile was constant and her words were always kind.” Facebook friends of Nicholas also described him as a kind-hearted person.

Pere Marquette Township Fire Dept., Ludington Fire Dept., Life EMS and Michigan State Police Motor Carrier, along with Mason County Sheriff’s Office, responded to the scene.  Mason County Sheriff’s Office Victim’s Services Unit is assisting deputies in notifications.