Man charged with manslaughter in death of father, daughter kille - WNEM TV 5

Man charged with manslaughter in death of father, daughter killed in I-69 crash

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Dalibor Sakotic (Source: Genesee County Sheriff's Office) Dalibor Sakotic (Source: Genesee County Sheriff's Office)
GENESEE COUNTY, MI (WNEM) -

A 34-year-old man has been charged with two counts of manslaughter in connection to the deadly crash on I-69 on Wednesday.

Cody Thomas, 27, and his 3-year-old daughter Aria died as a result of that crash.

Thomas, of Davison, was pronounced dead at the scene. His daughter was transported to a local hospital where she was later pronounced dead.

The crash happened at 11:38 a.m. on westbound I-69 between I-75 and W. Bristol Road. There were four vehicles involved in the crash.

A tractor-trailer was traveling wast on I-69 when it rear-ended a four-door sedan, Flint Township police said. Both of those vehicles ran off the roadway and came to a rest in the ditch on the north side of the expressway.

"The back of the victim's vehicle was basically crushed from the truck right into the front seat," Genesee County Prosecutor David Leyton said.

The two other vehicles remained on the roadway.

Along with Thomas and his daughter, there were two other relatives in the sedan. The driver a 28-year-old Clio man, sustained serious injuries and was transported to a local hospital. He remains hospitalized with serious injuries.

The front seat passenger, a 27-year-old Davison woman, sustained non-life threatening injuries and was transported to a local hospital. She was Thomas' wife and Aria's mother.

A fundraising page has been set up to help with funeral expenses.

The driver of the tractor-trailer, Dalibor Sakotic, and his passenger, a 37-year-old Texas man, were not injured.

Sakotic has been charged with two counts of manslaughter and one count of reckless driving causing serious injury. He is being held in the Genesee County Jail on a $500,000 bond.

He is scheduled to appear in court on March 29 for a probable cause conference.

"You hope to get them justice, but how do you bring back a 3-year-old? How do you bring back a loving husband? That's irreplaceable. All we can do in the justice system is bring some sense of closure," Leyton said.

Sakotic is not an United States citizen, but holds a green card, Leyton said.

Investigators do not believe alcohol was a factor in the crash.

"This was not an accident. This was something that was avoidable had the operator of the truck been looking or paying attention," Leyton said. "Clearly he was distracted because he didn't stop his truck."

The driver of the third vehicle was not injured.

The driver of the fourth vehicle, a 27-year-old Ann Arbor woman, sought treatment at a local hospital for minor injuries, police said.

"This is a terrible tragedy that took the lives of a father and his young daughter and left their grieving wife and mother behind," Leyton said.

If you witnesses the crash you are asked to contact Det. Alex Minto at 810-600-3250.

This all comes while major construction was being done heading eastbound on I-69.

A major construction project began Wednesday on I-69. MDOT reports work zones between Ballenger Highway and Fenton Road. The northbound and southbound I-75 ramps to eastbound I-69 are also closed. Hammberg Road to eastbound I-69 is closed and a single-lane closure will also be in effect on eastbound I-69 (right-hand lane).

TV5 reached out to MDOT for comment on whether the crash could have been related to the construction project, but they would not comment on it.

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