Carronce took the entire complement of the ferry hostage. A veteran of the war, he’d come home laden with booty from foreign battlefields–machine pistols, rifles, and even a precision scope–that put him far and away above the local Cheboygan County police armed with surplus revolvers. By the time the call went out into the surrounding countryside for able-bodied men willing to lend their own firepower, the ferry had moved too far offshore to be hit.

Forcing the crew to operate the radio for him, Carronce demanded that his seized assets be restored and that his wife and child be tracked down and reunited with him “at taxpayer expense.” The designated negotiator, trying to stall for time as proper boats and equipment were rounded up for a rescue, asked why Carronce was so adamant about the last point.

“I served my country for five years and killed ten men for it. It’s the least she can do.” was his reply. It was the last communication anyone would ever have with the ferry.

Five hours later, a Coast Guard launch approached the ferry under cover of darkness to attempt a boarding. The maneuver was botched, though, and Carronce opened fire even as he lowered the ferry’s car ramps, rapidly swamping the craft. A few bedraggled survivors were hauled out of the water, but the rest slipped beneath the oily-smooth Huron waters with their captor.

Advertisements