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PORTAGE CHARTER TOWNSHIP, MI – At approximately 9:40 p.m. on Sunday, November 29th, 2020, troopers from the Michigan State Police Calumet Post were dispatched to a one vehicle rollover personal injury crash on Superior Road near Haapapuro Road in Portage Township. 

The investigation indicated that a vehicle driven by 50-year-old Rodney Barnes of Chassell was traveling south on Superior Road when he lost control of the vehicle on the icy roadway. The vehicle slid sideways into the ditch area where it overturned and struck a tree. 

Barnes was not wearing a seatbelt and was ejected from the vehicle. He was pronounced dead at the scene. 

The cause of the crash remains under investigation. Troopers were assisted at the scene by the Houghton County Sheriff’s Department, Houghton City Police Department, Hurontown Fire and Rescue, Mercy Ambulance, and Superior Service Towing. 

On January 1st of 1968 a new federal law went into effect that requires all vehicles (except buses) to be fitted with seat belts in all designated seating positions.

Initially, seat belt use was voluntary. New York was the first state to pass a law which required vehicle occupants to wear seat belts, a law that came into effect on December 1, 1984. New Hampshire is the only state that has no enforceable laws for the wearing of seat belts in a vehicle.

On July 1st of 1985 Michigan had its own law go into effect that mandates all occupants if a vehicle must make use of their seatbelt.

Sadly, this vehicle crash is a prime example of why we should use seatbelts every time we get into any vehicle. They can and do save lives each and every day.

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