Laura Grove was flown by the Aeromed ambulance helicopter to Spectrum Health Butterworth Hospital in Grand Rapids after being extricated from her smashed vehicle.
Emergency crews responded to the scene at about 7:15 a.m.
Ottawa County Sheriff’s Capt. John Wolffis said Grove was driving north on 80th Avenue and approaching an area where two southbound cars were stopped on the shoulder of the road with their emergency lights flashing, north of Cleveland Street. The vehicles had stopped because there was a loose horse in the road. It was still dark at the time, Wolffis said.
Grove, who was on her way home after working a third-shift job in Coopersville, apparently didn’t see the horse and slammed into it, killing the animal, Wolffis said. Her 2009 Chevrolet Cobalt then struck a 2009 Buick Lucerne that was already stopped at the scene.
The Lucerne was being driven by Rachel Wieten, 39, also of Ravenna. She suffered non-life-threatening injuries, police said. An ambulance transported her to Hackley Hospital in Muskegon.
Grove was pinned inside her vehicle after the crash and had to be extricated by Coopersville-Polkton and Wright Township firefighters.
Wright Township firefighters were able to respond quickly to the scene after having just cleared a crash scene farther east on Cleveland Street.
An ambulance transported Grove to a farm field a short distance south of the crash site, where she was placed on the helicopter. Crockery Township firefighters assisted by setting up a landing zone for Aeromed.
Police said the horse got loose from a farm just to the south of the crash site.
Wolffis said his department gets a fair amount of crashes involving farm animals, but it normally happens during daylight hours. He urges people to use caution when driving through rural areas and to make sure they slow down when emergency flashers are visible.
The crash remains under investigation.