Fatal crash kills pedestrian on Empire Avenue Saturday night

BERRIEN COUNTY, Mich. – A car crash leaves a pedestrian using a motorized wheelchair dead on Saturday around 11:49 pm, according to the Benton Township Police Department.

Michael Swanigan, a 54-year-old from Benton Harbor, was pronounced dead at the hospital.

Officers arrived at the 1300 block of E Empire Avenue in Benton Harbor. They learned that the vehicle involved in the crash drove away from the scene. There is no exact vehicle or suspect description at this time.

A witness said that Swanigan was traveling east on E Empire Avenue in the westbound lane in his motorized wheelchair. The witness said that the vehicle was also allegedly traveling west on E Empire Avenue, struck Swanigan and drove off from the scene.

Swanigan was transported to the hospital with serious injuries, where he was later pronounced dead.

Parts of the suspect’s vehicle found at the scene reveal that they might be driving a 2008-2012 Chevy Malibu. However, officers do not have a suspect at this time.

Anyone with more information is asked to contact the Benton Township Police Department at 269-925-1135 or Michiana Crime Stoppers at 574-288-STOP.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of the story said the vehicle was traveling east on Empire. It was traveling west.

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