“It felt like a bomb went off” — Witness describes fatal wrong-way crash on US-131

Posted at 10:15 PM, Aug 18, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-18 22:15:11-04

ALLEGAN COUNTY, Mich.-- We're learning more about a fatal wrong way crash on US-131 Sunday that killed one driver and injured another. It happened on southbound 131 near the Shelbyville exit in Allegan County.

The wrong way driver was believed to be intoxicated at the time and died in the crash. The other driver, Alex Wieland, was seriously injured.

Tylor Bailey was driving behind Wieland on Sunday night when he described seeing headlights coming at them. Bailey says he saw the crash ahead of him where Wieland's car flipped and lit on fire. Despite first responders telling him to move back, Bailey and another witness rushed in to help.

"They hit at least full speed 70 miles per hour," said Bailey. "Alex's car went in the median and rolled over and caught on fire. The other vehicle came at me into my lane and I left the road at about 50 miles per hour."

Bailey says Wieland's vehicle was about about 100 yards in front of him and didn't have time to react to the other vehicle.

"It felt like a bomb going off in front of me," said Bailey. "I felt it through my truck."

Bailey called 911. When responders arrived, he and another driver who saw the crash jumped in to help them even though flames were shooting from the car.

"He told us to get back because it could explode," said Bailey. "We just kind of all determined at the same time that there wasn't much waiting we could do for the fire department to get there. We had to act. If we would've just stood there and did nothing we would've watched a guy burn alive. It was getting hot fast."

The group grabbed any fire extinguishers they could find to try and battles the flames.

"It seemed like every time they would hit it with a fire extinguisher it would just come back even harder," said Bailey.

Wieland was hospitalized with broken bones and concussion-like symptoms. His family has set up a Go Fund Me page to help with medical expenses. Bailey says it's amazing Alex is alive today.

"It was an act of God that he's still here," said Bailey. "The way things happened it could've been way worse. There was definitely someone looking out for him."