10 teens hurt in crash after driver tries to swap seats

Holly Fournier
The Detroit News

Ten Michigan teens were injured early Tuesday in a rollover crash on Interstate 75 in northern Ohio when the driver tried to switch seats with a passenger while the vehicle was moving, officials said.

The group, hailing from Howell, Brighton and Williamston in Livingston and Ingham counties, was headed home from Cedar Point when their van crashed around 1:10 a.m. on northbound I-75 near mile post 198, which is in Northwood, Ohio, a suburb of Toledo. It was single-vehicle incident, Ohio State Highway Patrol officials said in a news release.

Driver and Howell resident Jenna L. Halonen, 17, lost control of the 2003 Chevrolet Express while trying to switch seats with passenger Lilley Kastamo, 16, of Brighton.

The attempted switch caused “the vehicle to travel off the left side of the roadway and into the median,” officials said. “The vehicle then rolled over, ejecting two occupants prior to coming to final rest in the median.”

Lilley Kastamo and another passenger, Ellie Kastamo, both 16, were ejected and hospitalized with “incapacitating injuries,” officials said.

The relationship between the young women and other passengers was not immediately available.

Halonen, the driver, was still wearing her seat belt at the time of the crash, officials said. She was taken to St. Vincent Mercy Medical Center in Toledo along with seven other passengers, all of whom suffered non-incapacitating injuries:

■ Caroline M. Halonen, 15, Howell

■ Blake D. Pietila, 16, Howell

■ Logan D. Pietila, 16, Howell

■ Lauren J. Pietila, 16, Brighton

■ Sam P. Daavettila, 16, Williamston

■ Andrew J. Daavettila, 15, Howell

■ Sylvia R. Lesperance, 16, Howell

Well wishes for those involved were posted Tuesday on social media.

“We are sending lots of love & prayers to Ellie & Lilley Kastamo & everyone else involved,” officials tweeted from the Hartland High School Class of 2018 account. “Please continue to send them good thoughts/prayers.”

A friend named Emily Messner also sent prayers for the Kastamos.

“Everyone please pray for Ellie and Lilley Kastamo. They were in a really bad car crash,” Messner tweeted. “All we can do is pray for fast recoveries.”

Ohio state law prohibits individuals under age 18 from operating a vehicle from 1-5 a.m. unless accompanied by a parent/guardian or traveling to and from work, school or a religious event, according to the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles.

The crash Tuesday remains under investigation by the Bowling Green Post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol.

The Associated Press contributed.