Four people inside of a mini-van went for scary ride early Wednesday morning.
According to the Roscommon Sheriffâ??s County Office, due to poor visibility from the snow, a mini-van rear-ended a semi-truck pulling a large trailer. Inside the mini-van was the Menz family: 46-year old Matt, 47-year-old Pamela, 26-year-old Justin, and 22-year-old Jennifer.
The Menz family was driving northbound on I-75 from the Flint airport early Wedensday morning and was almost to their home in Roscommon.
The incident happened just before 2 a.m.
The driver of the semi-truck was not aware that the mini-van was stuck under the trailer and continued to drive for 16 miles.
"He apparently didn't know that we were there and before we knew it, he ended up dragging us 16 miles," Matt Menz said. "I was on the phone with 9-1-1 for the whole time. It's a hopeless feeling, helpless feeling. Out of control, you're just along for the ride. "
Matt Menz's oldest son, Justin, has pervasive development disorder. Matt said over the call to dispatch that Justin flew forward from the back seat to the seat Jennifer was sitting in, in front of Justin. Jennifer tried to console Justin the whole time.
"Started to console him, take care of him, and tell him it was okay," Jennifer Menz said. "I just started to call him down. When the airbags went off, just that smell like we were going to catch on fire and I thought we were."
Crawford County Deputies were also called in to help and were able to find the truck just south of Grayling.
"It is a strange situation," Roscommon County Sheriff Randy Stevenson said. "It's one that we've not heard of before. We've had vehicles rear-ended before but not attached. I feel that it was important that these people were able to get ahold of our dispatch center and we were able to get this semi stopped before, at some point, it did detach from the semi--who knows where the van would've ended up at that point. So, this turned out to be very fortunate for everybody."
Deputies were able to stop the semi safely.
The Menz family was taken to Grayling Mercy Hospital for evaluation and came out with minor injuries.
Sheriff Stevenson recommends driving slower in poor road conditions. He also said there was no other way, in this situation, for the Menz family to detach themselves from the semi other than to call and have Roscommon County Dispatch intercept it and get the truck stopped.
"If we didn't have that cell phone, we would've had no communication," Jennifer Menz said. "We would've been wherever that truck would've gone."