According to the Michigan State Police in Lakeview, the crash occurred on Crystal Lake, in Montcalm County, at approximately 8:00 p.m., February 13.
The preliminary investigation found that an ORV being operated by Lee Avery, 52, of Crystal, was traveling across the frozen lake surface of Crystal Lake when control of the ORV was lost and it went into an uncontrolled slide across the ice. The ORV broke through a fenced in portion of the lake, where a Polar Dip event was held earlier in the day, at Crystal Lake’s Winterfest. The ORV then went into the hole that was cut in the ice for that event, submerging the ORV and the four people aboard in the lake.
Two of the passengers were able to exit the water, while Avery and the front passenger were still submerged. Bystanders were able to partially pull the ORV from the water utilizing a tow strap and pickup truck.
Avery and the other passenger were then attended to by rescue personnel on scene and ultimately taken to Carson City Hospital where Avery was pronounced deceased. The front passenger, a 25-year-old Crystal woman, was then taken to Spectrum Butterworth in Grand Rapids in Critical Condition. The two other passengers had no reported injuries.
It is unknown at this time if alcohol consumption is a factor in the incident as the investigation is ongoing.
Troopers were assisted on scene by the Montcalm County Sheriff’s Department, Carson City Police Department, Crystal Fire Department, and Montcalm County EMS.