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State Briefs

By The Associated Press • May 5, 2018 at 8:00 AM

High winds kill 2, cut power to more than 300K in Michigan

DETROIT (AP) — High winds that toppled trees and power lines in mid-Michigan on Friday killed at least two people and cut power to more than 300,000 homes and businesses.

The outages came as the National Weather Service warned of wind gusts of up to 65 mph.

Gusts as high as 51 mph were reported at the Muskegon County Airport shortly before 11 a.m. and at Holland’s harbor at about 10 a.m. Gusts of 58 mph were reported in East Grand Rapids at about 10:30 a.m. and in Allegan at 9:35 a.m.

The Detroit News reported falling trees killed one person inside a car in Pontiac and another person in suburban Detroit's Independence Township. A postal worker was also injured by a falling tree in South Lyon.

By early Friday evening, about 333,000 utility customers were without power. DTE Energy reported outages affecting about 260,000 of its customers and Consumers Energy reported about 73,000 outages.

Residents were urged to proceed with caution when outdoors and to stay away from all power lines.

The Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office Emergency Management canceled the monthly countywide emergency siren test Friday because of the high wind warning.

The Grand Haven Tribune contributed to the above report.

2-year-old girl dies in Grand Rapids house fire

GRAND RAPIDS (AP) — Authorities said a 2-year-old girl died in a house fire Thursday night after flames prevented her parents from rescuing her.

Grand Rapids Fire Department Chief John Lehman said the fire was reported at about 7:30 p.m. The child's parents tried to get her from a bedroom, but the flames were too intense.

Firefighters found the child's body after extinguishing the blaze. The city's police department identified the girl as Jazelle Sa'mone Thomas-Whitfield.

WOOD-TV reported the house that burned had two apartments in it. The Grand Rapids Press reported two adults and four children who were inside the house escaped after a smoke detector alerted them to the fire.

Lehman said one firefighter was treated for heat exhaustion, but he was expected to be OK.

The fire's cause remains under investigation.

State regulator to consider authorizing pot use for 10 conditions

LANSING (AP) — A Michigan regulator will consider an advisory board's recommendation to add autism and other conditions to a list of allowable medical conditions for the use of marijuana.

The review panel on Friday recommended including 10 conditions. They are obsessive compulsive disorder, arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, spinal cord injury, inflammatory bowel disease, ulcerative colitis, Parkinson's, Tourette syndrome, autism and chronic pain.

State Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs Director Shelly Edgerton has until July 10 to decide on nine of the recommendations. She has until Aug. 6 to make a determination on another.

In 2015, a previous director rejected a recommendation to allow marijuana use for autism.

Marijuana is allowed to relieve the side effects of cancer and other conditions. Only post-traumatic stress disorder has been added since voters approved the law in 2008.

Central Michigan University student dies after falling down stairs

MOUNT PLEASANT (AP) — Authorities said a Central Michigan University student has died after falling down stairs.

Mount Pleasant police said 21-year-old Kevin Ajluni died Thursday in a hospital, after being found early Sunday at the bottom of a home's basement staircase.

Investigators said there was no foul play involved, but are awaiting autopsy and toxicology test results.

Police said Ajluni, who is from Oakland County's Orchard Lake Village, had been with about 10 people at the rental home the prior evening. The gathering had dispersed but nobody had seen him.

Authorities said he was found by a resident unconscious and struggling to breathe. The resident called 911.

Man gets prison in crash that killed woman, hurt twins

GRAND RAPIDS (AP) — A Cedar Springs man charged after fleeing a high-speed crash that killed a woman and critically injured her 5-year-old twin boys in Kent County has been sentenced to up to 15 years in prison.

Douglas Crystal, 36, learned his punishment Thursday. He earlier pleaded no contest to charges including operating while intoxicated causing death and failure to stop at the scene of an accident when at fault causing death.

Authorities said 33-year-old Meranda Baguss of Sand Lake was killed Sept. 15, 2017, when Crystal's pickup truck smashed into her vehicle at a rural intersection in Courtland Township. Her sons survived.

Crystal had been returning home after a golf outing and fled on foot after the crash. Deputies used police dogs and a state helicopter to search for him.

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