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GH man charged with drunk driving after U.S. 31 crash

Becky Vargo • Aug 24, 2017 at 6:53 PM

A 31-year-old Grand Haven man pleaded not guilty to a charge of drunken driving when he was arraigned Thursday morning in Ottawa County District Court.

 

According to authorities, Christopher Ryan Howard was the driver of a pickup truck that witnesses said was weaving in and out of traffic on southbound U.S.  31 and ran a red light at Hayes Street in Grand Haven Township before crashing into vehicles stopped for a red light at Ferris Street on Aug. 15.

 

 

Police said Howard first hit a car driven by Brittany Bunker, 24, of the Grand Haven area. The impact of the collision pushed Bunker’s car into a roofing company’s truck stopped in front of her car. Howard’s truck bounced off Bunker’s car and into the other lane, where it rear-ended another small car.

An ambulance transported Bunker to North Ottawa Community Hospital following the crash. She was the only person injured. Her car was destroyed.

Bunker’s attorney, John Hayes, said his client was treated at the hospital for head, face, shoulder and arm injuries, and released. She continues to recover at home and is doing some physical therapy, Hayes said Thursday.

 

The next court hearing still has to be set for Howard. He was appointed an attorney by the court and released on a $125 personal recognizance bond.

The maximum penalty for a first-time drunken driving offense is 93 days in jail, a fine of $100 to $500, and up to two years probation.

Hayes said they are evaluating whether or not a civil lawsuit will be filed.

Howard appeared in Ottawa County District Court in Holland on Monday on a chemical use charge normally associated with huffing, although Judge Craig Bunce said he didn’t know if that was the case with Howard. Bond was set at $1,000 personal recognizance in that case. Howard was also ordered not to consume drugs or alcohol.

Bunce said he made the bond conditions more strict, but did not raise the bond dollar amount.

“Generally, if they do come to court when they are supposed to be here, I don’t usually up the bond,” the judge said.

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