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Sparta man killed in crash


One man died and another man was injured when the pickup truck they were riding in rolled over on US131 north of Big Rapids Sunday.

According to the Mecosta County Sheriff’s Office, the crash occurred about 8:35 a.m. Sunday, November 24. They were dispatched to US131 northbound, just north of 22 Mile Rd (near Big Rapids) for a report of a one-vehicle rollover crash with entrapment. Deputies arrived on scene and found that a pickup had been travelling northbound on US131 when it lost control crossing the overpass at 22 Mile Rd. The vehicle then went off the roadway to the left and began sliding sideways in the median. The vehicle then overturned several times coming to rest on the roof of the pickup. The pickup roof collapsed on both occupants.

Big Rapids Department of Public Safety firemen were able to remove the doors with extrication equipment get to the victims. The driver of the vehicle, Steven Spring, 65, of Norton Shores, received serious injuries and was transported by Mecosta County EMS to Spectrum Butterworth Hospital for treatment.  

The passenger in the vehicle, Fred Bender Jr, 57, of Sparta, received fatal injuries and was pronounced deceased at the scene. 

US131 northbound was shut down for a short period of time for scene investigation. Deputies were assisted by Big Rapids Department of Public Safety Fire Division, Mecosta County EMS, Big Rapids Township Fire, Mecosta Township Fire, and Reed City Fire.

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