Car catches fire after plowing into home in Madison Heights

By: Andy Kozlowski, | Madison - Park News | Published October 6, 2017

MADISON HEIGHTS — A motorist struck another driver and sent the other driver veering off the road and into a Madison Heights home, with the car catching fire but the driver escaping to safety, according to police.

Now the motorist who started the chain reaction is facing misdemeanor charges. 

The incident occurred shortly after 10 a.m. Oct. 2, near the intersection of Alger and LaSalle streets. The suspect, Ashley Pruitt, 26, of Detroit, was driving her 2001 Ford Focus east on LaSalle when she ran the stop sign at Alger. That’s when she struck a 2006 Pontiac G6 driven by a Madison Heights woman, 22, who lives in that neighborhood. 

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The impact knocked the Madison Heights woman’s car off the road, where she hit a house and its porch. Witnesses at the scene said smoke and flames immediately emerged from the vehicle, and one person tried to aid the Madison Heights woman, but she managed to free herself from her car before the flames could reach her.

Nonetheless, the Madison Heights woman was transported to Royal Oak Beaumont Hospital as a safety precaution. Firefighters extinguished the blaze. Police said the extent of the damage to the home is currently unknown and the city’s building inspector will have to evaluate the structure. 

The suspect’s vehicle received front-end damage, while the victim’s vehicle had front-end damage and damage to the driver’s side. 

As for Pruitt, she was ticketed for disregarding a traffic sign and not carrying proof of insurance — both civil infractions — and then arrested on charges of driving with a suspended license and having an improper license plate on her vehicle, misdemeanor charges that carry a sentence of up to 93 days in jail and/or a $500 fine, and up to 90 days in jail and/or a $100 fine, respectively. 

She was arraigned Oct. 3 and released on personal bond. At press time, she was scheduled for a pretrial hearing in Madison Heights 43rd District Court at 1 p.m. Oct. 31. 

No attorney information for Pruitt was immediately available.

Madison Heights Police Lt. Michael Siladke said that the investigation is closed. He said the incident serves as a lesson about the importance of obeying traffic signs, even in a neighborhood that may appear slow and quiet.

“Traffic control devices such as stop signs are put in place to ensure the safety of drivers and pedestrians and should not be taken for granted,” Siladke said. “Disregarding a stop sign, or any traffic law, in a residential neighborhood could have tragic results. The proximity of the homes and the increased pedestrian traffic in residential areas makes it important that everyone drive with due care and caution.”