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Four teens hurt in crash

By Judy Reed

What started as a night of fun turned into a tragedy for a group of Cedar Springs High School students, when the car they were riding in hit a tree Halloween night.

According to the Kent County Sheriffs Department, a car carrying four 16-year-old girls, all Cedar Springs High School juniors, was traveling west on 16 Mile Road, just west of Crinnion, in Spencer Township, when the driver lost control about 10:15 p.m. and struck a tree. The girls had just left a Halloween party, and because there were people following them, someone was on the scene immediately.

“There were at least eight cars there of family and friends when we arrived on the scene,” said Spencer Fire Chief Allan Wright.

Two of the four girls sustained serious injuries. “Two of the girls were out of the car, and two were still in the car when we arrived,” Wright said.

According to police, the two girls in front (driver Francis Hamilton and passenger Carissa Thompson) were wearing seatbelts and the airbags deployed. They suffered bumps and bruises. The two in the back (Jenny DeJonge and Briona Keeshan) were not seat belted and received more serious injuries. DeJonge reportedly fractured her 5th cervical vertebrae and has bruised and broken ribs and a serious concussion, and is in a c-collar and vest. She returned home Sunday. Keeshan is still in the pediatric ICU at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital.  She shattered several of her vertebrae, and has no feeling from the waist down. She has had surgery to repair those and plates put in.  She also has a broken hand, broken femur and dislocated hip.

Police said that the driver told them there were holes in the road, which caused her to lose control. They cited her for traveling too fast for road conditions, although they weren’t sure how fast she was going. “If she didn’t have her car under control, she was going too fast,” said Lt. Kevin Kelley.

Alcohol was not suspected to be a factor in the accident.


The students at Cedar Springs High School want to invite the community to join TEAM BRIONA. Dedicated to Briona Keeshan, who was seriously injured in an auto accident on Halloween evening. She is a junior at CSHS and is at Helen Devos Children’s Hospital in the pediatric intensive care unit with serious spinal cord injuries.

In order to support the family and tie the community together, the student body, along with Cedar Springs Sales and Graphix, has begun a t-shirt sale with proceeds donated to Briona and her family to offset medical expenses. The shirts were designed by the high school students and are being worn to support Briona’s full recovery. Students are offering the community the opportunity to join and TEAM BRIONA and purchase these shirts and wear them with pride in the community.

The cost of the t-shirt is 10, with $5 of each shirt going to the family of Briona. To order, please call 696-2111 or email denise@cedarspringssales.com. Please include Briona in your prayers; she is one of our own.

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One Response to “Four teens hurt in crash”

  1. Kristen says:

    i love you briona and jenn




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