Devoted mom’s trip to daughter’s event ended in tragedy
Early Saturday morning, Danette Robertson finished a double shift at a Downriver nursing home and headed to her daughter’s cheerleading competition in Warren.
The 40-year-old mother of three from Brownstown Township rarely missed such events and had just worked the overtime in a bid to buy Christmas presents, said Darrell Robertson, her oldest brother.
“She would do anything for her kids,” he said.
But the 2004 Chevy her 22-year-old son was driving on Interstate 75 near Outer Drive in Lincoln Park hit a patch black ice, spun into a guardrail and flipped — partly ejecting her, Darrell Robertson said.
Danette Robertson was one of three Metro Detroiters who didn’t buckle up and died last weekend after their vehicles crashed, Michigan State Police said.
“She was just one that wouldn’t wear it sometimes, and our message to everybody was: wear your seat belts for your loved ones or make your loved ones wear their seat belts,” Darrell Robertson said Monday night. “Out of this tragedy, if we’ve got anything to learn, it’s that we should all force our loved ones to wear their seat belts. We feel that she might have had a chance if she had her seat belt on.”
Michigan State Police still are investigating the fatal weekend crashes in Wayne and Macomb counties. None of the victims wore seat belts and alcohol did not appear to be a factor in the incidents.
Metro Post troopers running stationary radar speed enforcement on 32 Mile east of Hartway in Armada Township about 4:35 p.m. Friday spotted a 1996 Honda speeding westbound at 96 mph, MSP said in a statement. They then saw the driver lose control and swerve into a ditch; the vehicle rolled over several times. The motorist, identified as Cody Michael Pagan, 23, of Ray Township, was ejected during the crash and pronounced dead at the scene.
Troopers were dispatched to another crash about 3:10 a.m. Sunday. A 2003 Toyota was eastbound on Interstate 94 near Woodmont in Harper Woods when the driver “lost control and went up the embankment,” State Police said in a statement. The driver, identified as Malcolm Pennington, 38, of Eastpointe, was ejected and pronounced dead at the scene.
Robertson’s crash was reported about 8:10 a.m. Saturday, state police said. Her son, Nathan, who relatives said had been wearing a seat belt, was transported to a local hospital with minor injuries.
The incidents show that not buckling up can have devastating consequences, Michigan State Police Lt. Mike Shaw said.
“Some of the crashes were pretty low-impact, and if they would’ve had their seat belt on, they probably would have lived,” he said Monday night. “The automotive manufacturers have done such a great job in ... making vehicles safe. But people decide not to wear their seat belts and you get thrown outside the vehicle and there’s nothing to protect you.”
Once news about Robertson’s accident reached her daughter, Jenna, the Woodhaven Warriors cheerleading squad opted not to finish their routines to support the teen, her uncle said.
Now, the family is planning a funeral, scheduled for 11 a.m Wednesday at John Molnar Funeral Home, 23700 West Road, Brownstown Township.
To defray costs and help her children, a GoFundMe page has been set up. More than $12,100 had been raised through Monday night.
One user wrote: “Beautiful Danette. We all love you. You will be greatly missed. You were a awesome mom!”
“The support has been overwhelming,” Darrell Robertson said.