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Year in Review: Fatal accidents

Two people died in this crash at Cedar Springs Ave. and Egner.

Two people died in this crash at Cedar Springs Ave. and Egner.

The Post covered several fatal car accidents this year. They were all tragic, but one week in particular stood out. In the issue we ran on October 17, there were four crashes and six fatalities.

The first accident that week happened on Sunday, October 13, at 7:56 a.m., when Jimmie Dale Scofield, 58, of Gowen, ran off the road, in his pickup, in the 14000 block of Lincoln Lake Avenue and hit a power pole, a wood fence, and a large tree. He was pronounced dead at the scene. Alcohol was not a factor.

The second accident occurred the same day in Howard City. A motorcyclist traveling southbound at a high rate of speed on Ensley Street ran a red light at W. Shaw Street, and struck and eastbound minivan, causing it to roll. The driver of the motorcycle, Tony Magoon, 46, of Morley, was not wearing a helmet and was pronounced dead at the scene.

The driver of the van, William MacTavish. 84, of Howard City, was transported to the hospital by AeroMed, with life-threatening injuries. He died from his injuries Wednesday afternoon, October 16. William’s wife, Betty, a passenger in the van, suffered minor injuries.

The third fatal crash occurred on Tuesday, October 15, about 5:20 a.m. Taylor Jean Oberlin, 19, of White Cloud, was heading west on Indian Lakes Road, in her 2000 Monte Carlo, when she failed to stop at the stop sign at Northland Drive and was hit by a northbound semi. The teen died at the scene of her injuries. The truck driver, Nathan Charles Roosien, 34, of Wyoming, was uninjured.

The fourth accident occurred Wednesday evening, October 16, in Nelson Township. A 2008 Ford Taurus was eastbound on Egner and stopped at the stop sign at Cedar Springs Avenue about 6:22 p.m. The driver attempted to turn north on Cedar Springs Avenue and collided with a 2008 Saturn that was northbound.

The driver of the Taurus, Judy Mae Ranger, 69, suffered bumps and bruises. The backseat passenger, Kathleen Fernn Bitely, 88, of Bailey was pronounced dead at the scene. The front seat passenger, Herbert Donald Smith, 92, from Twin Lakes, was transported to the hospital where he later died of his injuries.

The driver of the Saturn, Kristy Lynn Beemer, 28, and her front seat passenger, Michael Rock McBride, 30, were transported to the hospital with severe injuries. Two children in the backseat—a five-year-old female and three-year-old female—also suffered injuries. The five-year-old suffered two broken legs.

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

Other tragic accidents this year included a crash in Nelson Township on June 25, which took the life of two-year-old Oscar Zuniga, of Cedar Springs. Paula Zuniga, 33, was traveling westbound on 17 Mile in a red Ford Explorer with her three children about 10:15 a.m., when a gray Ford F150 traveling northbound on Myers Lake Avenue ran the stop sign and hit Zuniga’s vehicle. Oscar was ejected from his car seat and died at the scene. Three-year-old Alex Salgado was transported to the hospital with serious head injuries, and both one-year-old Gretta Salgado and Paul Zuniga were transported to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

The driver of the truck, John Heeringa, 65, of Howard City, was taken to the hospital by family to be checked out.

Heeringa may have been distracted by his dog, which was in the cab of the truck. He has been charged with a moving violation causing death.

The most recent fatal crash, on Saturday, November 24, involved a couple engaged to be married. Bridget Brinkmeier, 24, of Courtland Township, died when the car she was riding in left the roadway and rolled on Northland Drive, just north of Russell Road. The crash occurred about 11:43 p.m., when she and her fiance’, Nicholas McIntyre, 24, also of Courtland Township, were on their way home from the Food, Beer and Wine Festival in Grand Rapids, and were less than a mile from home. McIntyre reportedly fell asleep while driving.

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