Patterson's Seatbelt Was Buckled Behind the Passenger Seat

Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson is still hospitalized following the Aug. 10 accident in Auburn Hills.

The seatbelt in the front passenger seat of the car that L. Brooks Patterson was riding in when he was was buckled.

It just wasn't buckled around Patterson.

According to a detailed report of the Aug. 10 accident provided by the Auburn Hills Police, which responded to the scene, the belt was buckled behind the passenger seat of the Chrysler 300 that Patterson, the Oakland County Executive, was traveling in. He was in the passenger seat when it crashed.

"I observed the passenger's side seatbelt to be wrapped behind the front passenger's seat back and clicked into the buckle, indicating the passenger was not wearing the seatbelt at the time of the crash," the report stated.

Patterson's driver, James Cram, was not wearing a seatbelt, either. That belt was found unbuckled at the side near the car door. Cram told police who arrived on the scene that neither he nor Patterson were wearing their seatbelts.

Neither Patterson nor Cram have been cited for not wearing a seatbelt; both are still hospitalized for treatment of injuries suffered in the crash.

An Auburn Hills Police deputy indicated to The Oakland Press that there would not be a citation as long as they remain hospitalized.

Other driver pleads not guilty

Anthony Prainito, the driver of the Volkswagen Passat that Patterson's Chrysler 300 crashed into at the intersection of Walton and Opdyke, was in the crash. 

According to the police investigation, Prainito, 31, of Royal Oak, failed to yield on a flashing yellow light at the intersection, causing the crash. There are about 90 traffic signals with flashing yellow turn arrows across Oakland County. .

Prainito pleaded not guilty to the charge.

According to data from the crash data recorder of the Chrysler 300, Cram was driving 54 mph in the seconds before the crash occured. The speed limit in that area of Walton is 45 mph. 

An assistant Oakland County prosecutor said during Prainito's arraignment that speed was not a factor in the crash.

Patterson, 73, has been the county executive for 18 years. After receiving an influx of flowers at the hospital during the weekend after his crash, Patterson's staff asked that get-well-soon gifts be sent as a donation to , the half-marathon race in Rochester that Patterson founded five years ago.

The donations will help fund Brooksie Way Minigrants, which are awarded to Oakland County organizations that promote health and wellness. Sue Barnes, the training coordinator for the Brooksie Way, said this week that donations have been coming in. They are still being accepted at: The Brooksie Way; P.O. Box 81576; Rochester, MI 48308

Beth Ayers August 29, 2012 at 01:54 PM
So speeding and no seat belts. Speeding is a factor, if Cram was going the speed limit then the accident would not have occurred. Mr. Paul Walton of the Oakland County Prosecutors office is playing more corrupt political games. seriously, Mr. Walton would put the prosecutors office in a shameful position just to avoid giving a speeding ticket and properly giving Mr. Cram credit for causing the accident. Political games every which way you turn in Oakland County! Sickening!
BH Resident August 29, 2012 at 01:54 PM
Patterson's belt had to have been buckled behind the passenger's seat to defeat the signal which says that the passenger is not buckled in. This indicates a deliberate pattern of non-use of the seat belt by Patterson. He should and his driver both should be cited for disobeying the law. Also, there is a statute that says that a speeding driver loses the right-of-way. Yet the book appears to have been thrown at the driver of the car which didn't yield to Patterson's speeding car at a flashing yellow arrow. Might there be some sort of double standard operating here ??
ageekymom August 29, 2012 at 02:11 PM
Still hospitalized?! He obviously has excellent insurance.
Kristin Bull (Editor) August 29, 2012 at 03:16 PM
Here is the update from the county executive office: "Patterson has been moved to the rehabilitation unit in McLaren Oakland Hospital where he continues to respond well to treatment."
Ruthann Bajorek August 29, 2012 at 03:29 PM
Thank you, Kristin, for publicizing the fact that Mr. Patterson was not wearing a seat belt. He -- and his driver -- SHOULD be examples to the public of the right thing to do. Shame, shame, shame on them both. I wish them both a complete recovery. And then I'd like to see them be required to speak publicly about the error of their ways.
Mackey Chandler August 29, 2012 at 03:54 PM
I can't blamed the insurance company for keeping him in treatment. If he has any infections or loses mobility he has the influence and the assets to sue them and the doctors involved to ruin. They might prevail but at a cost of millions. Chrysler better watch out because their airbags didn't save him despite the lack of a belt. Does the owner manual specifically SAY the belt has to be worn in front to work? Its like those warning we get now that your hairdryer doesn't work underwater...
Rochester Hills Mom August 29, 2012 at 04:04 PM
Click it or ticket. But, oh wait....silly passenger! Seat belts aren't meant to be fastened BEHIND the seat your sitting in. Duh.
Joseph McCauley August 29, 2012 at 04:05 PM
Think they'll wear seat belts in the future?
Ferndale_1986 August 29, 2012 at 04:34 PM
huh? now it's chrysler's fault? ever hear of a concept called "personal responsibility"?
Maryann August 29, 2012 at 04:55 PM
Shame on him! and his driver for speeding
Jaime Merryweather August 29, 2012 at 04:56 PM
I would love to hear a press release from the Executive's and Prosecutor's offices on this article. Perhaps, non-seat belt wearing injuries should have reduced coverage from the insurance companies.
Lula August 29, 2012 at 09:39 PM
This all sounds pretty pethic -Speeding & not wearing seat belts .. You can break the law(s) as long as you have the right name (s)-. Would love to hear a press release on this article from executive's and prosecuitor's . Political games are being played here no matter which way you look @ it...
chris. roznowski August 29, 2012 at 10:51 PM
I agree with many of you on here. BH Resident, lula, and Mary ann. They all should know better. They should not be excused because of who they are.
Pat Wittenbach August 29, 2012 at 11:33 PM
Peoplearenuts August 30, 2012 at 12:52 AM
Yep and we are paying for it. Since he deliberately buckled the seatbelt behind him, he should have to pay all his own hospital expenses. The only good thing that might come out of this, is that he will not run for re-election, But I'm not holding my breath on that one - he will go after the synpathy vote. He has been awful quiet - no radio interviews as far as I know - too afraid to be "called out" I guess.
Erin August 30, 2012 at 01:22 PM
Given his age, he's covered by Medicare. He's moved to a rehab facility which Medicare will pay 90 days. Unlike many, I'm sure he can also afford a good supplemental plan on top of Medicare. In a few years, if R/R wins, seniors can get a coupon and use it as downpayment towards purchasing a Medicare plan or other private insurance. Which would really not be bad if R/R had a plan to drive down soaring medical costs in a system with all the wrong incentives. If you put in place, and keep in place, gradual cost controls, like those in the ACA and Romneycare - there's a good chance that coupon is worth something. But they promise waivers/repeal efforts on day one. Without dealing with costs, your voucher/coupon will be worth less and less in the actual market. For now, R/R decide to run on more hypocrisy - attacking Obama for passing a Republican healthcare plan (Until 2009, Romney actively promoted nationalizing his) that includes saving Medicare through bending the cost curve, and fixing problem of Reagan's socialized medicine, EMTALA 1986 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emergency_Medical_Treatment_and_Active_Labor_Act. Sorry for diversion, accidents like these make you think about the real life implications of healthcare policy, costs, ability of regular folks to pay, and how that effects them, their family, and the broader economy. Back to Patterson. Very sorry to hear of accident and I hope that all involved are well soon, and wearing seat belts.
Peter Everts August 30, 2012 at 05:46 PM
Brooks has never worn a seatbelt.
Virginia August 30, 2012 at 06:21 PM
From the 2011 300 Owners Manual: WARNING! • Relying on the airbags alone could lead to more severe injuries in a collision. The airbags work with your seat belt to restrain you properly. In some collisions, the airbags won’t deploy at all. Always wear your seat belts even though you have airbags. It really doesn't matter anyway. The LAW says seat belts must be worn.


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