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Road commission to do study of intersection after fatal crash

A crash at Northland Drive and 16 Mile took the life of a Newaygo man last week. 
Post photo by J. Reed.

By Judy Reed

Scott Latsch. Obituary photo.

The Kent County Road Commission told the Post they will do a full study of the intersection at 16 Mile and Northland Drive after a Newaygo man was killed there in a crash last week.

The crash occurred about 6:50 p.m., January 2. The call came across originally as a three-car crash with one person unconscious and needing to be extricated from the vehicle. However, only two vehicles were involved.

The Kent County Sheriff’s Office, Cedar Springs Fire and Courtland Fire responded to the scene. 

Deputies reported that the preliminary investigation shows that a man driving a 2007 Ford Focus was traveling northbound on Northland Dr NE and attempted to make a left turn onto westbound 16 Mile Rd NE. A 2006 Volvo XC90 that was traveling southbound then struck his vehicle.

The driver of the Ford Focus, Scott Latsch, 31, of Newaygo, was pronounced deceased at the scene. According to his obituary, he had been a mechanic at Superior Transmission in Cedar Springs.

The driver of the Volvo, David Garner, 28, of Cedar Springs, went to the hospital on his own to be checked out.

Police said drugs and alcohol are not believed to be factors in the crash. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Kent County Sheriff’s Office.

This is the second time in two months that someone has died from a crash at this intersection. In November, Marshall Taylor, 82, of Rockford, was headed southbound on Northland Drive when his vehicle collided with a Chevy Impala headed eastbound on 16 Mile Rd. He later died of his injuries.

The Post reached out to the Kent County Road Commission to find out if any kind of study has been done or is being planned for this intersection.

“We were saddened to learn of the fatality that occurred last night,” said Maura Lamoreaux, of the Kent County Road Commission. “When a crash occurs along our network, the Kent County Road Commission investigates and works closely with law enforcement to determine causation. There are several variables involved in a crash and determining causation is part of the analysis used to determine whether a potential modification to traffic control could change or reduce the frequency of the given type of crash.

“KCRC will complete a thorough study of the intersection, which will include the final crash report from the Sheriff’s Department that will be finalized once the investigation is concluded,” she explained.

She sent along the crash statistics we requested, and there have been relatively few crashes at the intersection over the last five years. In 2015 and 2016, there were no crashes. There was one in 2017 (not a fatal); none in 2018; and two in 2019, one of them fatal (in November). And now this crash in 2020.

Lamoreaux also sent along the last traffic counts for that intersection. 

*Northland Drive north of 16 Mile two-way 24-hour count 11,207

*Northland Drive south of 16 Mile two-way 24-hour count 10,197

*16 Mile east of Northland two-way 24hr count 1,412

*16 Mile west of Northland two-way 24hr count 1,267

The Post will update this story when we know more.

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