Michigan State News

May 15, 1970

"Car swerves into marchers, injures 10 en route to Capitol"


Gov. Miliken was shouted down several times as he told more than 8,000 marchers Thursday that he has faith the system is capable of change.

"I agree . . . with you that something must change soon," Miliken said. "I realize that some of you may disagree with me on how best to bring about change—and even whether the system as we know it is capable of change. I believe it is."

He was greeted by calls of "Well, change it, then," and "Open the doors (to the Capitol)."

The marchers, who came from colleges and universities across the state, urged passage of the House bill exempting Michigan residents form serving in an undeclared war and immediate withdrawal of troops from Indochina.

They had walked in the rainy, 50-degree weather down Michigan Avenue from a rally at Beaumont Tower.

A motorist injured 10 young people when he swerved his red Falcon into a crowd of marchers near the intersection of Michigan and LaSalle Boulevard.

Lansing police chief Derold Husby said late Thursday afternoon that the motorist has been charged with driving under the influence of alcohol.

Police did not release the name of the driver.

Five students were injured in the accident.

Admitted to Olin Health Center for observation and treatment of an ankle injury was Mary K. Goulet, Greenville sophomore.

Other MSU students treated at Sparrow and St. Lawrence hospitals are:

Other persons injured and taken to Lansing hospitals are:

Witnesses said the slow moving car lunged into the line of marchers some 26 blocks east of the Capitol.

The marchers tried to stop the car, but it proceeded until one marcher jumped onto the hood and kicked at the windshield, witnesses said.

The man was then pulled from the car and grabbed immediately by police.

Deputy Police Chief Lawrence Murphy said the students who served as march marshals had done "an excellent job."

"We can’t say enough about the help of the marshals. When this accident occurred they aided us tremendously and continued to do so during the entire march."

The Board of Trustees unanimously adopted a statement Thursday afternoon expressing "profound shock and sorrow over the tragic injuries to several persons who were struck by an automobile today while exercising their right to peaceful dissent and to the policeman who was attempting to protect that right.

The line of marchers stretched over six blocks and occupied two lanes of traffic. It took 25 minutes to pass one point.

The doors to the Capitol were locked and gathered by State Police during the rally.

At the Capitol the marchers heard speeches from several legislators including Rep. Jackie Vaughn, D-Detroit; Rep. Daniel Copper, D-Oak Park; Sen. Sander Levin, D-Berkely; Sen. Roger Craig and Sen. Coleman Young, D-Detroit.

Young and Craig called for students to become precinct leaders to work to elect peace candidates in the November elections.

Miliken had to stop several times during his speech and ask to be heard when chants become too loud.

"As governor, I have a responsibility to maintain order and protect lives and property," he said. "I intend to carry out that responsibility. As governor, I also have a responsibility to protect the right of peaceful dissent and to listen to it. I intend to carry out that responsibility as well."

"I, for one, intend to listen to legitimate dissent, and—where appropriate—respond to it," he said.

After his speech Miliken said he was not upset by the interruptions in his speech and that he planned to speak to dissenters again.

He said that "nuts and kooks" had tried to shout him down and had no intention to listen to him.