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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Friends express grief, anger on MySpace

Christina Stolarz, Catherine Jun and Charles E. Ramirez / The Detroit News

ROSEVILLE -- Messages of grief popped up on countless pages on MySpace on Tuesday, with friends and family members expressing disbelief and in some cases anger at the deaths of four St. Clair Shores teens at the hands of a drunk driver.

Several changed their profile names to honor Devon Spurlock, 19; Erica Haudek, 15; Stephanie Currie, 16; and Jordan Michalak, 16, students at Lake Shore High School who were killed in the crash at Gratiot and Masonic in front of Macomb Mall.

One 16-year-old added to hers "R.I.P Jordan, Erica, Devon, Stephanie." Another: "(R.I.P. Spurlock) We All Miss You Already."

Many posted moods like "depressed," "angry," "sick & sad" and "not believing it."

"How can 1 person be so selfish? Taking 4 innocent lives because of your carelessness is just selfish."

Spurlock used his own MySpace page to tout his relationship with Haudek and to share information about himself.

Spurlock described himself as "one of the coolest people you'll ever meet ... I really don't care about anything. I'm a really mellow and down-to-earth person. Nothing really bothers me."

He cared deeply about his friends, he said on the social networking Web site.

"I Have the coolest friends and you guys (know) who you are ... I don't Know what I would do without you guys."

Spurlock and Michalak, who grew up on the same street in Saint Clair Shores, were often seen playing basketball at a park at the end of the block.

"They were like brothers," said Julie Fox, 15, a friend and classmate.

Fox said Spurlock lost his mother to a drunk driver about two years ago. He was living at a friend's home in Warren.

Michalak lived with his mother, June Fulton, and his 11-year-old brother, Anthony Ambrose, in St. Clair Shores.

Michalak's aunt and uncle, Marie Fulton Davey and Bill Fulton, of Roseville, described their nephew as a "regular 16-year-old kid" who "liked to hang out with his friends at the mall."

"He wasn't hanging out in strange places at night," Fulton said. "He was usually here at home."

Davey couldn't help but make the somber connection between the tragedy and today's holiday, St. Patrick's Day, a day known for excessive drinking.

"People shouldn't drink and drive today," she said. "Families don't need to go through this," she added, choking back tears.

The victims were in a red Chevy sedan at 8:30 p.m. Monday near Macomb Mall when a van driven by Frances Patricia Dingle, 47, of Mount Clemens, hit their car at a traffic light on Gratiot, police said.

Spurlock was the only senior in the group, while the three others were sophomores, Lake Shore Public Schools Superintendent Christopher Loria said.

"I know all of them were pretty good students," he said. "They were good kids who were in the wrong place at the wrong time. It's sad because it was a person who apparently was drinking and driving. It was just so senseless. Our students were sitting at a car at a light and got hit. They had no time to react.

"Four lives are gone."

Loria said some high school kids who were "struggling" today, while some teachers at John Kennedy Middle School -- where three of the four teens attended -- were upset. The district stationed eight internal counselors, a special education teacher and at least three members of the Macomb County Crisis Team around the high school to talk to students.

Loria said students have expressed an interest in a memorial service for the victims. Loria said he and a high school assistant principal heading to the homes of the victims to speak with their parents to hear their wishes, "because that's our No. 1 priority and the students'."

Loria said they may have found a location off school grounds, possibly a local church, to host a memorial service. Also, he said, Roseville police have asked that a service not be held at the accident scene.

There are no further details yet on a memorial service, Loria said.

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