Fatal crash caused by motorist distracted by pet dog

YORK TWP. (AP) — A 73-year-old man has been killed in a crash on a Michigan roadway caused when another motorist became distracted by one of six dogs in her pickup truck.

The Ann Arbor News reported Thursday that Cyril Berry Jr. died following Wednesday's crash in Washtenaw County's York Township, about 46 miles southwest of Detroit.

Washtenaw County Sheriff's Office spokesman Derrick Jackson said the other driver, a 71-year-old woman, crossed the center line and struck Berry's vehicle. Jackson said the woman told officers that one of the dogs jumped into her lap and "distracted her as she was trying to get him back into the seat."

The woman was in critical condition Wednesday at a hospital. Three of the dogs also died in the crash.

2 people killed in crash on icy St. Clair County bridge

BURTCHVILLE TWP. (AP) — Two people were killed Thursday morning in a head-on crash on an icy St. Clair County bridge.

Police said a 30-year-old woman lost control of the pickup truck she was driving at about 6:30 a.m. in Burtchville Township, crossed the center line and struck a second vehicle. A third vehicle then struck the crashed vehicles.

The pickup's driver and a 38-year-old man riding in the truck died from injuries in the crash. The 40-year-old driver of the second vehicle and 80-year-old driver of the third vehicle have been hospitalized.

The crash was under investigation Thursday.

Michigan man charged with sending trade secrets to Iran

DETROIT (AP) — Federal prosecutors in Detroit have charged an engineer with sending corporate trade secrets to a brother in Iran.

Amin Hasanzadeh of Ypsilanti is also accused of lying on immigration forms by failing to disclose his service in the Iranian military. He has permanent resident status in the U.S., commonly referred to as a green card.

The FBI says Hasanzadeh, 42, sent confidential documents to Iran while working at a Michigan company that serves the auto and aerospace industries. The government says his responsibilities included work on a supercomputer that had aerospace applications. The alleged scheme occurred in 2015 and 2016.

Hasanzadeh appeared in court Wednesday and asked for an attorney. He said he works at the University of Michigan. He's in custody until a Friday hearing.

Michigan Supreme Court takes case of foreclosure windfalls

LANSING (AP) — A lawyer on Thursday warned the Michigan Supreme Court that local governments could face a financial calamity if forced to repay surplus cash from the sale of tax-foreclosed properties.

There is no dispute that state law allows county treasurers to keep money left over after overdue property taxes finally are paid from a sale. The issue for the court is whether the practice is illegal under the takings clause in the U.S. and Michigan constitutions.

"This is unjust and it is unconstitutional. ... The government can take the property and sell it, but it can only keep what it's rightfully entitled to," said Christina Martin, an attorney for former property owners in Oakland County. She called it "stealing."

Because of an oversight, Uri Rafaeli owed $8.41 in taxes on a rental property in Southfield. The bill grew to $285 with penalties and interest. Oakland County sold the house for $24,500 but kept the balance, although the sale greatly exceeded the amount of overdue taxes.

John Bursch, arguing on behalf of Oakland County, told the Supreme Court that property owners have more than two years to avoid foreclosure because of unpaid taxes. But after foreclosure, he added, property rights are extinguished along with any other claims.

"This is not unjust enrichment" by local governments, Bursch said. "When you're on notice and you fail to do something, you lose your rights."

He urged the justices to rely on the Legislature to change the law if the public thinks it's unfair. Bursch said more than $2 billion is at stake if the court declares the law unconstitutional.

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