by Judy Reed
UPDATED with names May 18.
Four people were injured in a crash in Tyrone Township Tuesday morning, with two being sent to the hospital via AeroMed.
The accident occurred around 10:30 a.m. May 17, at the corner of 17 Mile and Sparta Avenue. According to the Michigan State Police, a 1998 tan Ford Windstar van was heading north on Sparta Avenue, when the driver disregarded the stop sign at 17 Mile Rd. and was hit in the front passenger side by a westbound 2010 white Chevy HHR. The vehicles rolled and landed in the yard of a home on the northwest corner of the intersection. There is a stop sign on Sparta Avenue, but not on 17 Mile.
The driver of the HHR, Darryl Metzer, 28, of Clare, was transported to the hospital with minor injuries. He was the only occupant in the vehicle.
The driver of the van, Timothy Watkins, 38, of Sand Lake, was transported to the hospital by Rockford ambulance and is in stable condition.
Police said that the two rear passengers in the van, Mitchell Helton, 43, of Sand Lake, and Peggy Helton, 54, of Sand Lake, were not seatbelted, and were transported to Butterworth Hospital by AeroMed and are in serious condition.
The Michigan State Police, Kent County Sheriff Department, Sparta Fire and Rescue, and Kent City/Tyrone Township Fire and Rescue were all on the scene.
According to one witness at the scene, Laura Glidden, owner of the Cheap Buys Thrift Shop on the northeast corner of the intersection, she had just went out to her car seconds before the accident occurred. “I saw the white car go by, then heard the crash,” she said.
Glidden is worried about the number of accidents occurring at the intersection. “There was an accident here just last week. There have been eight accidents at this corner since I moved into the store a year and a half ago,” she remarked. She also said that during the afternoon hours when kids get out of school at Algoma Christian, which is located just north on Sparta Avenue, cars will speed through her parking lot, cutting through to avoid the buses. “What if a child is coming out of my store and is hit by a car?” she asked. “Do you think anyone will take a look at putting another stop sign or light here now?”
The cars landed in the yard of James and Cindy Hart. Cindy said that she was in the backyard when she heard a “bang bang.” When she came around the house, she saw the cars. But she wasn’t surprised. “All of the cars end up in my yard,” she noted, including one last year that she said stopped only inches from the house.
She said her husband has spoken with the township about trying to get a light at the intersection. “He has talked to a lot of people over the last 19 years, but nothing has been done,” she said.
“That car hit that tree so hard that it took the top off,” she said pointing to her yard. “That’s why we have the trees. He (James) planted them because they (the township) won’t do anything.”
Hart also complained that no one completely cleans up after the crashes. She said that officials might sweep up some glass off the road, but that she and her husband end up cleaning up a lot of debris–and repairing their property. “When we try to get a copy of the police report to submit a claim to insurance for repairing our property, they (police) say we have to pay for it,” she said. “It doesn’t seem fair.”
The Post called the Kent County Road Commission to get the facts on how many accidents have occurred at this intersection, and to find out if any kind of a study has been done or is warranted. We are waiting to hear back from them.