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One dead in crash on southbound U.S. 31

Becky Vargo • Sep 8, 2017 at 5:58 PM

SPRING LAKE TWP. — A Muskegon man is dead and two others in the hospital after a two-vehicle crash that occurred late Friday afternoon on southbound U.S. 31, about a quarter-mile north of Taft Street.

Police said 26-year-old Zachary Hall was pronounced dead at the scene of the 5:38 p.m. crash in Spring Lake Township.

Relatives said Jackie Garrison, 27, and Austin Miller, 29, were the occupants of a Chevy Silverado pickup truck that left the road, rolled over through brush and trees off the highway, and landed upright against the back of a Herman Miller factory building west of the highway.

Police said Miller was pinned in his smashed truck and had to be extricated by Spring Lake Township firefighters. Garrison was able to crawl out of the truck on her own, said Sgt. Matt Wildfong of the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office.

An ambulance took Miller and Garrison to Mercy Hospital in Muskegon. Both Muskegon residents were in good condition, Wildfong said.

Garrison and Miller were on their way to the Trillium banquet facility on VanWagoner Road in Ferrysburg for a wedding rehearsal when the crash occurred. 

Several family members on their way to the rehearsal came across the crash and initially thought the truck against the tree contained Garrison and Miller, a relative said. Both pickup trucks are dark blue, but the one against the tree was a Dodge.

The Silverado was not visible from the highway.

Wildfong said both trucks were southbound on the highway at the time of the crash. The Silverado was in the right lane and the Dodge was in the left lane.

According to Wildfong, Miller was about to exit the highway at VanWagoner Road when he saw the Dodge pickup coming up behind him seconds before the collision. Witnesses said the Dodge, driven by Hall, was going at a high rate of speed when it bounced off a guardrail and then struck Miller’s truck. That caused both trucks to leave the west side of the highway and roll over several times.

The Dodge hit a tree, and the Silverado continued through the brush and landed on a driveway behind the factory building.

Traffic on southbound U.S. 31 in the area was stopped completely for a short time. One lane of traffic was eventually allowed through.

Wildfong said the crash will remain under investigation by the sheriff’s department.

A secondary crash farther north on the southbound lanes also tied up traffic. Ferrysburg firefighters assisted at that incident. There was no information immediately available on that crash.

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