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Watch: Deputies lift car to free woman trapped after hit-and-run

Dashcam video shows the horrific crash and the heroic aftermath

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Oakland County (Mich.) Sheriff’s Office

By Mark Hicks
The Detroit News

OAKLAND COUNTY, Mich. — Oakland County sheriff’s deputies saved the life of a woman who was pinned under her car after a parole absconder in an SUV ran a stop sign, broadsided her car and then ran away, authorities said Friday.

The crash happened Thursday at 10:21 a.m. at the intersection of Rundell and Edison streets in Pontiac.

A deputy was stationed nearby about 10:20 a.m. following residents’ complaints about speeding in the neighborhood, investigators said in a statement.

As a Consumers Energy crew worked at the corner of Rundell and Nelson, the deputy spotted a GMC Terrain that appeared to be speeding through the construction zone and turned around to pull the driver over, according to the release.

“The SUV appeared to speed up to evade the traffic stop and ran the stop sign at Edison Street, striking the front passenger side of (a Pontiac G6) and causing it to roll over,” sheriff’s officials said in a statement. “The GMC spun around and hit a utility pole before coming to rest.”

Dash camera footage from the patrol car captured the crash.

Seconds later, as the deputy approached, the SUV driver is seen stumbling out of the car and running away. He was last seen behind townhouses on Whitfield, sheriff’s officials said.

They identified the man as Dontonio Tremone Nichols, 30, of Pontiac, who is wanted for absconding from parole.

“A witness asked Nichols if the occupants of the other car were OK. He said he didn’t know and kept running,” investigators wrote.

Meanwhile, the driver of the G6 was ejected and trapped underneath, unconscious but still breathing with only part of her legs visible.

Deputies lifted the driver’s side of the vehicle enough to free the 24-year-old woman, who had not been wearing a seatbelt. She was transported to McLaren Oakland Hospital and listed in critical condition.

A 2-year-old boy was found crying and hanging upside down while restrained in a child seat, sheriff’s officials. He was not injured.

“We are actively looking for the driver who caused this accident and then cowardly ran away, without giving a passing thought to the well-being of the other driver and the damage he had caused,” Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard said. “We have now identified the fleeing driver and it turns out he is a wanted parole absconder. We are asking for the public’s help, but I have a message for him: ‘We will find you, so turn yourself in.’”

The Michigan Department of Corrections listed Nichols as a parole absconder Friday. He has prior convictions in Oakland County and one from Kalamazoo County dating to 2008. The offenses include home invasion, fleeing a police officer, possession of narcotics/cocaine less than 25 grams as well as receiving and concealing stolen property. Nichols has been on parole since July 2019.

Anyone with information on his whereabouts is asked to call Crime Stoppers of Michigan, which is offering a $1,000 reward, at 1-800-SPEAK-UP.

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