Son mourns

Luke and Gayle Burns’ son still struggles with the loss of his parents in a car crash this past winter, according to his neighbors.
Becky Vargo
Jun 13, 2014

 

All of his blinds were closed at his home in the Village Green community in Grand Haven and he did not come to the door Tuesday afternoon.

“I try to help him as much as I can,” said neighbor Suzanne Turrell. “I went over yesterday and cleaned up the yard a little bit.”

Lewis Burns III, 34, last saw his parents late the afternoon of Jan. 25 when they stopped home before going to a dinner party in Robinson Township, after a meeting at the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Grand Haven.

“I talked to my Mom probably at 5 p.m.,” he said for a previous story. “They stopped here to change clothes before going out there. I waved to my Mom through the window.”

Three hours later, his mother was dead and his father was losing the battle for his life.

The final police report released this week confirmed that Gayle Burns, 53, lost control of her 2009 Chevrolet Cobalt on an icy Mercury Drive and spun out into the path of a 2007 Ford F-150 pickup truck driven by Scott Miller, also of Grand Haven Township.

The southbound truck struck the northbound car in the passenger door. Both Burnses were pinned in their car, which ended up in a snowbank on the south side of the intersection with Robbins Road.

Gayle was pronounced dead at the scene. Luke, 55, was taken to North Ottawa Community Hospital, but died at about 12:40 a.m. the next day.

Police said Miller, who had gone to the store to pick up a frozen cake, was shaken but otherwise not injured.

A witness of the crash who stopped at the intersection told police he believed neither vehicle was going faster than 35 mph, but officials still noted a hazardous action — too fast for conditions — for the Burns vehicle.

It had been snowing all day and was snowing lightly at the time of the crash, the report noted. The temperature was 11 degrees and winds were blowing northwest at 15 mph.

“The roadway was snow-covered and icy,” reported Sgt. Steve Austin of the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Department.

The report shows no alcohol use for Gayle Burns, but also indicated an autopsy had not been completed at the time of the report.

To read the whole story, see today’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.

 

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