After the crash on M-222 last week, this vehicle was reunited with its motor, shown sitting behind it on the wrecker. (Photo by Virginia Ransbottom)

‘Speed, age’ blamed for student crash on M-222

Daniel Pepper, Staff Writer

A car crash that involved Plainwell students leaving the Allegan County Area Technical and Education Center was attributed by police to “age and speed” after consulting accident reconstructionists and witness statements.

Allegan County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Chris Kuhn said the five cars carrying 13 students had left the tech center in Allegan about 10:30 a.m. going east out of town.

“The driver of the lead car realized he’d left his phone at the ACATEC building and he pulled over to make a lefthand turn at the same time the fifth car tried to pass,” Kuhn said.

The fifth car was accelerating to pass and struck the first car with great force, causing its engine to be knocked out and left laying on the ground. Kuhn agreed that in his experience that was a very uncommon happening and spoke to a very violent collision.

The fifth car was the one that went airborne for about 50 feet, before flipping over and coming to rest against a fence on the side of the road. Its fender was found in a nearby tree.

“That vehicle basically ramped off a driveway culvert and went airborne,” Kuhn said.

He said the previously reported distance of being airborne for 100 yards wasn’t accurate and was very unlikely to happen.

The crash caused the second and third vehicles to move over to the right to avoid the crash.

“The fourth vehicle then didn’t have enough reaction time or following gap and he was unable to avoid striking both of those vehicles,” Kuhn said.

He summed up that “Speed and poor driving strategy was at play.”

Kuhn said charges had yet to be sought because one of the students was pregnant and they were waiting to see if there were any possible injuries to the unborn child before proceeding.

Contact Dan Pepper at or at (269) 673-5534.


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