Three teen-aged girls on a joyride were injured Tuesday morning in Nelson Township, when the driver lost control of the vehicle they were in and hit a tree head-on. The accident occurred just one day after students, friends and family buried fellow student Wyatt Phillips, also a victim of an auto accident.
According to Sheriff Deputies Jason VanDyke and Brad Mercer, Kaitlyn Twork, 17, an unlicensed driver, took the family’s Chevrolet 4×4 for a spin with two of her friends, Fawna Flanagin, 15, and Shelbi Link, also 15. According to a witness, the truck was headed eastbound on 16 Mile and stopped at the stop sign at Shaner. The driver then gunned it across the intersection and continued east on 16 Mile (which is gravel) at a high rate speed. The truck traveled a short distance before veering off the left side of the road and hitting a tree head on.
“It’s a good thing they weren’t going any faster than they were,” said VanDyke. “But they were going fast enough to drive the engine compartment up into the dashboard.”
The three girls were all seatbelted, and suffered minor cuts and contusions, according to police, but were quite emotional and upset at the scene. All three were sent to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
Deputy VanDyke said Twork would be cited with careless driving and driving without a license.
The Cedar Springs Fire Department and Rockford Ambulance assisted at the scene.