The crash happened Sunday afternoon in Cass County’s Milton Township, near Niles and just north of the Indiana state line.
Michigan State Police said a pickup truck was eastbound on U.S. 12 when it left the road, went back onto the roadway, crossed the center line and hit an oncoming car. Both vehicles rolled and burst into flames.
The pickup’s driver managed to escape, but the four people in the car were trapped inside.
State police identified the victims as Curtis Stone, 50; Stacey Garza, 35; their son Devon Stone, 1; and Garza’s mother, Kathleen Marks, 57. The Stones were from Mishawaka. Marks was from South Bend, Ind.
“I was sitting in my house watching TV and I heard a big explosion,” neighbor Larry Livengood told WSBT-TV in South Bend.
Livengood said he ran outside to see a raging fire and cries for help in his front yard.
“Immediately you could hear a child crying in the back of the one vehicle. It was very disturbing to see because there was nothing you could do, with the flames so hot and intense,” he said, tears in his eyes. “Nobody could get that close to it.”
The truck was driven by Cecelia Chaney, 43, of Niles. She was treated at a hospital, WSBT-TV reported.
State police said they were continuing to investigate the cause of the crash.
“It hits home,” said Niles Township Fire Lt. Doug Myers, one of the first firefighters on scene. “I told the guys last night when we got done, ‘Go home, make sure you hug your families. Thank the Lord that you still have them.”’