Presque Isle County Car Crash Kills One Person (Updated)

ROGERS CITY, MI – One person was killed in an auto accident at about 9:45am on Wednesday, September 9th, 2015, just north of Rogers City.

Police have identified the victim as James Lee Hopp, 66-years-old, of Rogers City.

fatal crash

The collision on US 23 about four miles north of Rogers City Wednesday morning involved a semi and a passenger vehicle.

The Presque Isle County Sheriff’s Department responded to the accident.  The driver of the passenger vehicle, Hopp, was dead at the scene.  The driver of the semi, Duane Robert Tulgestke, 49-years-old, of Rogers City, was transported to Alpena Regional Medical Center for his injuries.  According to the Presque Isle County Sheriff’s Office, the semi with a trailer and the passenger vehicle hit each other head-on.

The Hopp vehicle was traveling south on US-23, crossed the center line and collided head on into the semi tractor trailer driven by Tulgestke.

Deputies have said the amount of debris created by the collision caused the highway to be closed for several hours.

The accident remains under investigation.


James Lee Hopp, 66, of 273 S. Lake Street, Rogers City, died Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2015.James Hopp

He was born Sept. 5, 1949, in Alpena. He is a 1967 graduate of Rogers City High School, attended Alpena Community College, and graduated from Central Michigan University with a bachelor’s degree in education. He took advanced studies at Marygrove College, Michigan State University and The University of Michigan.

James, along with his brothers, worked for several years at Hopp’s Standard Service, once operated by his father at Third and Erie Streets. James taught history, English and journalism in the Rogers City High School system for 31 years, retiring in 2005. He was an advisor to the yearbook staff during those years.

In 1988 he won an NBC National Teaching Award for excellence in journalism education, and he was honored as Rogers City Teacher of the Year in 1990.

He was an avid researcher and author of several books of the history of Rogers City, including “Maidez! Tragedy at Sea” (the sinking of the Carl D. Bradley),” a later expanded edition of the Bradley and Cedarville shipwrecks); “Echoes from the Sunrise Side,” “Execution 13” and “Jewell by the Sweetwater Sea.” He collaborated on other books of history about Rogers City.

James played on one of the first Little League Baseball teams in Rogers City and was an avid Detroit Tigers fan. As an enterprising photographer, he enjoyed taking pictures of landscapes and nature. He loved Lake Huron and one would find him daily either walking or biking as far away as the 40 Mile Point Lighthouse. In addition, he was a big fan of the music of The Beatles.

He was active in the Presque Isle County Historical Museum and was a past member of the Rogers City Optimist Club.

He is survived by his parents, Carroll and Helen Hopp of Rogers City; his brothers Jeffrey of Rogers City and Neil (Linda) of Mt. Pleasant; sisters Carole Ann of Rogers City and Christine of Gaylord; several nieces and nephews, and great nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by a brother, Randolph, in 1983, and his grandparents, Paul and Dora Hopp and Paul and Anna Mulka.

His family will host a celebration of James’ life on Saturday, September 26th, 2015, at 2 p.m. at the Beck Funeral Home, Rogers City. Visitation will commence at 1 p.m.

Please, in lieu of flowers, the family requests memorials be made to the Presque Isle District Library and/or the Presque Isle County Historical Museum.

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