Montcalm County Sheriff Deputies said they believe drug use by a Howard City woman was a factor in a three-car-crash that killed a Gladstone man Sunday.
According to police, Nicole Stapleton, 30, of Howard City, was driving a 2006 Chevrolet Silverado pickup northbound on Ensley Street, in Howard City, at a high rate of speed, at about 9:23 a.m. Sunday, February 26, when she rear-ended another vehicle. The impact sent the vehicle, a 2003 Chevrolet Tahoe driven by John Reniff, 31, of Gladstone, across the road, where it struck a southbound 2006 Chrysler Town and Country minivan, which was stopped and waiting to turn left on to Walnut Street. After hitting Reniff’s vehicle, Stapleton’s Silverado continued north and struck a tree.
Stapleton, who was not wearing a seatbelt, and Reniff, who was wearing a seatbelt, were both airlifted to Butterworth Hospital. Reniff later died due to injuries he sustained in the crash.
Melissa Ballard, 30, of Gladstone, a passenger in the Reniff vehicle, and Julie Osbourne, 43, of Howard City, the driver of the minivan, were both transported to Spectrum Hospital by Montcalm Emergency Medical Services.
Deputies said that further investigation showed that Stapleton, in the moments leading up to the crash, had rear-ended a Volkswagen near Federal Road and Kendaville Road, about 1-1/2 miles south of the crash scene, and then continued north at a high rate of speed. Deputies believe drug use is a factor and the accident remains under investigation. The Michigan State Police and Howard City Fire also assisted at the scene.