Deputies release names of victims of double fatal crash on M51

NOW: Deputies release names of victims of double fatal crash on M51

The Cass County Sheriff's Department has released the names of the victims involved in a crash on M51 Sunday evening.

The head on collision happened on M51 south of Crystal Springs Street in Pokagon Township.

"We heard sirens. We saw two of the helicopters circling," says Marie Hill, who lives just down the street.

She was walking her dog around 8 p.m. on Sunday, when she knew something was wrong.

"There was probably a really, really bad accident and someone was either dead or dying," Hill explains, recalling the amount of sirens and commotion.

There was.

A southbound PT Cruiser crossed the center line and collided with a northbound Chevrolet Impala, deputies said.

The driver of the P.T. Cruiser was identified as Lee Ann Romita Saenz, 34, of Mishawaka. She is in critical condition at South Bend Memorial Hospital.

The front seat passenger was identified as Kennethia Mary Hoyle, 33, of Ann Arbor. She was flown to Borgess Hospital in Kalamazoo. She is in serious condition but is stable.

One of the back seat passengers, David William Conner, 31, of Niles, died from his injuries.

The other back seat passenger, Scott Dean Cole, 30, of Niles, was taken to a hospital in St. Joseph, Michigan in serious, but stable condition.

The driver of the Impala, Phillip Joseph-John Seitenstich, 32, of Dowagiac, was taken to Borgess Lee Memorial Hospital in Dowagiac for non-life threatening injuries.

His front seat passenger, Benjamin Lee Meiser, 34, of Dowagiac was transported to Borgess Lee Memorial Hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

The back seat passenger in the Impala, Tracy Louise Seitenstich, 37, of Dowagiac died from injuries sustained in the accident.

This crash remains under investigation.

Hill says, when she heard the details of what happened, she wasn't surprised. 

"People drive really fast on country roads. They drive while distracted," she adds. 

This stretch of M-51 has seen quite a few fatal crashes.

On November 12, 2017, another deadly accident happened, not even two miles away from Sunday's crash. 

Two additional fatal collisions in 2015 and 2013.  All four are less than one mile away from each other. 

Hill says something needs to be done before more people die driving on this road.

"It made us very sad," she says. "We said prayers for their families, but nothing will bring them back."

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