2017-04-20 / Front Page

Traverse City woman dies in ORV accident in Elmwood Township

By Patti Brandt Burgess
Of The Enterprise staff


A 19-YEAR-OLD Traverse City woman was killed Tuesday when the off-road vehicle she was riding in flipped over, leaving the 26-year-old driver and the victim’s 23-year-old sister hospitalized with nonlife threatening injuries. A 19-YEAR-OLD Traverse City woman was killed Tuesday when the off-road vehicle she was riding in flipped over, leaving the 26-year-old driver and the victim’s 23-year-old sister hospitalized with nonlife threatening injuries. A 19-year-old Traverse City woman was killed Tuesday when the off-road vehicle she was riding in flipped over in Elmwood Township.

Kerstin M. Colmus was a passenger in the ATV being driven by 26-year-old Christopher D. Peterson, also of Traverse City.

Also in the vehicle was the victim’s sister, 23-year-old Katelynn M. Colmus, who was able to leave the scene and go for help, leading first responders back down a trail to where the accident took place.

Both Katelynn Colmus and Peterson, who had been pinned face down under the upended ATV, were hospitalized for non-life threatening injuries. On Wednesday morning, Colmus was listed in fair condition and Peterson in serious condition at Munson Medical Center.

Leelanau County Sheriff Mike Borkovich said deputies are awaiting a toxicology report to determine if Peterson had been drinking before the crash, as there was alcohol found in the area.

The accident took place at about 3:30 p.m. about 1/2 mile north of M-72 and about 1/2 mile west of South High Point Drive.

Borkovich said the three were riding in an open field when Peterson was attempting a turn and lost control of the vehicle, flipping it on its side.

“That’s a tragedy, that’s a heartbreaker,” said Borkovich, who spent much of Tuesday evening at Munson. “Our hearts go out to the families.”

Colmus, a 2015 graduate of St. Francis High School, was a member services representative at 4Front Credit Union in Traverse City, according to her Facebook page.

She was also a hostess and barista at amical restaurant in Traverse City, where employees on Wednesday morning were just being told of her death.

Her Facebook page also states that Colmus was studying at Northwestern Michigan College, where a public relations representative was unable to comment.

The vehicle was a Polaris Razor side-by-side UTV, which is a highperformance four-wheeler, Borkovich said.

None of the victims were wearing helmets or seat belts, he said.

A laser analysis of the scene is being done, Borkovich said. The relatively new technology will give investigators the speed and angle of the ATV, which can be used to determine the cause of the accident.

The Elmwood Township Fire and Rescue Department, North Flight EMS and a conservation officer from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources also responded to the accident.

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