Car crash with wrong-way driver on US-131 kills Jaryd Ford of Plainwell

By Daniel Pepper Staff Writer

A Plainwell man was killed late Wednesday, April 15, when a pickup truck going the wrong way on US-131 hit his car head-on.

Jaryd Ford, 21, of Plainwell died at the scene of the crash, according to Michigan State Police, while his passenger, Megan Covey, 26, of Wayland survived. The driver of the pickup, Jeremy Smeltzer, 29, of Portage, also died.

Troopers said they got multiple 911 calls about 11:55 p.m. reporting a pickup going north in the southbound lanes of US-131 near D Avenue.

Two state police troopers found the pickup just south of M-89, where the troopers, who had their cruisers’ lights and sirens activated, had to swerve to avoid the pickup, which was still going the wrong way.

State police said, “As the pickup passed them, it struck a Ford Mustang head-on.”

The troopers and Plainwell and Otsego police tried to help the crash victims and had to extinguish fires in both the vehicles.

Smeltzer, the pickup driver, was airlifted to Borgess Medical Center in Kalamazoo, where he was pronounced dead. Covey, the passenger in Ford’s car, was taken to Bronson Methodist Hospital in Kalamazoo with what police called non-life threatening injuries.

State police said everyone involved was wearing a seatbelt.

The Otsego Police Department, Plainwell Department of Public Safety, Allegan County Sheriff Department, Otsego Fire Department, Life EMS and Wayland EMS assisted the state police with the crash, which they said remains under investigation.

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