January 24, 2021


BAY CITY, MI — Two Bay County women have died after a car they were in was submerged in the Saginaw River.

The Bay City Department of Public Safety confirmed that Janet Korpal, 81, and Nicholette Korpal, 52, died the evening of Monday, Nov. 30. The women were mother and daughter, police said.

A few hours earlier, at about 2:20 p.m., Bay City Public Safety personnel responded to a report of a vehicle that had driven into the river from a parking lot near Bigelow Park on Middleground Island. A witness had said two women were in the vehicle, described by Public Safety Deputy Director Caleb Rowell as a black Mercury Milan.

After floating for a brief time, the Milan became submerged in the water with both Korpals still inside, police said.

Emergency responders pulled the women from the car. The Korpals were taken to McLaren Bay Region hospital and died sometime after 5 p.m.

Autopsies are planned to determine the Korpals’ causes of death. Police did not say who had been driving the Milan.

Multiple agencies responded to the scene and lent assistance, including the Bay County Sheriff’s Office, U.S. Coast Guard, Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Michigan State Police, Essexville Department of Public Safety, Medstar Ambulance Service, and the Bangor Township Fire Department.

Read more:

2 Bay County women in critical condition after being pulled from car in Saginaw River

Emergency crews respond to report of car in Saginaw River in Bay City

Lakeshore flooding advisory issued for Bay, Tuscola counties as winter storm skirts Saginaw Bay

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The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHSTA) announced on Monday that General Motors must recall 5.9 million vehicles, after the safety administration denied the company’s petition to avoid the callback.

“NHTSA has denied General Motors’ petition for inconsequentiality regarding Takata air bags, which will compel GM to recall and repair passenger air bags in approximately 5.9 million vehicles,” the agency told Newsweek via email. “All Takata phase-stabilized ammonium nitrate (PSAN) inflators without a desiccant are under recall.”

According to the email, GM must recall trucks and SUVs made between 2007 and 2014 as they “are at risk of the same type of explosion after long-term exposure to high heat and humidity as other recalled Takata inflators.”

Drivers who want to check if their vehicle has been recalled can visit the NHSTA recall page, found here.

On the page, they’ll be prompted to enter their 17-digit vehicle identification number, or VIN.

To find it, the NHSTA page says, “Look on the lower left of your car’s windshield…Your VIN is also located on your car’s registration card, and it may be shown on your insurance card.”

Once the VIN number is entered, drivers will be able to find out if their vehicle was involved in the recall.

The General Motors world headquarters in September 2015 in Detroit. U.S. safety regulators announced Monday that GM must recall 5.9 million vehicles due to faulty airbags.
Bill Pugliano/Getty

GM urged the administration to avoid a recall several times dating back to 2016, saying that the measure was unnecessary because the airbags did not cause a safety risk.

The company directed Newsweek to a press release where it stated that it still believes “a recall of these vehicles is not warranted based on the factual and scientific record” but that “will abide by NHTSA’s decision and begin taking the necessary steps.”

The AP also reported that in securities filings, GM estimated that it would cost around $1.2 billion to replace the airbag inflators it previously avoided fixing.

The agency wrote:

The recalls are due to a design defect, whereby the propellant used in Takata’s airbag inflators degrades after long-term exposure to high humidity and temperature cycling. During air bag deployment, this propellant degradation can cause the inflator to over-pressurize, causing sharp metal fragments (like shrapnel) to penetrate the air bag and enter the vehicle compartment. To date, these rupturing Takata inflators have resulted in the deaths of 18 people across the United States and hundreds of injuries, including lacerations and other serious consequences to occupants’ face, neck, and chest areas.

Updated November 23, 11:58 a.m. ET, to include a response from GM.

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NAUGATUCK — A Prospect firefighter sprang into action to rescue an unconscious person from inside a burning car at a local cemetery over the weekend, according to fire officials.

Fire units responded to a reported car fire at Grove Cemetery on Sunday, with first-arriving units confirmed a vehicle fully involved in flames and a small brush fire nearby.

When the fire broke out, officials said, Prospect Fire Department Safety Officer Jay Kolodziej was at the cemetery.

“Jay noticed smoke and went to the area to investigate, where he found the vehicle on fire,” officials said.

Having his fire department radio handy, Kolodziej called the Naugatuck dispatch number to get fire crews to the scene.

“Getting closer to the vehicle, Jay noticed an unconscious person in the car,” officials said. “Jay opened the door and pulled the person from the vehicle as flames encroached into the passenger compartment.”

Kolodiej remained at the scene with the individual until fire personnel and medics arrived. The person was taken by medics to a local hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, officials said.

“The Naugatuck Fire Department recognizes Prospect Fire Department Safety Officer Jay Kolodziej for his actions that certainly saved a life,” officials said.

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