‘Car guys’ honor fallen GH officer

The Sunset Coast Cruisers raised more than $800 Wednesday in memory of a Grand Haven public safety officer who was shot and killed in the line of duty 17 years ago. The 16th annual Scott Flahive Memorial Cruise drew in 112 cars old and new. "Last year I had 150 (cars),' said Kurt Pravda, president of the Sunset Coast Cruisers and organizer of the event. "I think the heat's keeping people down.' The drive is kind of like a funeral procession, Pravda said.
Lydia Coutré
Jul 21, 2011

“We all go past the memorial site and honk our horns,” he said. “I personally didn’t know Scott. I mostly knew his parents. ... I told (his father) when I started it, I’d do it as long as I got help from the city, and they’ve accommodated me there. So I just keep doing it.”

When Flahive approached a stopped car on Beacon Boulevard in 1994, the jail escapee inside the car shot him through the door with a rifle. Flahive died on the scene.

Tom Taylor of Grand Haven said he and his wife, Marilyn, moved back to Michigan last year and decided to honor Flahive by participating in the cruise.

“We remember the day this tragedy happened,” Taylor said. “We just thought moving back in here in the area, we could pay tribute to the family. Just like a soldier, they give their life — not only to their country, (but) to their state as well.”

“They shouldn’t be forgotten,” Marilyn Taylor added.

Public safety officers lead the procession and stopped traffic at intersections along the route, which took participants south on U.S. 31 to Stanton Street, where they headed west, then north on Lakeshore Drive back to downtown Grand Haven. Cruisers took Grand Avenue and continued past the state park, and to

Washington Avenue and U.S. 31, then ended up at the Driftwood Inn where they began.

Paul Remondino has driven in the cruise four times, and tries to make it as often as he can. He said it is his favorite cruise.

“I have a lot of respect for police,” Remondino said. “And to me, it’s dramatic to see the police blocking traffic for a fallen comrade. Chest out, proud. ... Everybody in these cars will wave at every cop blocking traffic. It’s just cool.”

After the cruise, the Sunset Coast Cruisers raffled off donated prizes such as gift certificates and oil changes. Pravda said all money goes to the Scott Flahive Memorial Fund, which is for kids who want to go into criminal justice.

Remondino said there is a certain camaraderie between car guys and cops.

“It’s a tough job,” Remondino said. “And anytime us guys get a chance to honor cops or firemen, I’m in. Count me in.”

Comments

Jinxed329

I could not believe how disrespectful other cars on the road were to those of us in the cruise. This was to be treated like a funeral procession and still anxious drivers were cutting in between the cruisers and blocking the procession at red lights despite the cruisers having the right of way granted by police escorts.

Post a Comment

Log in to your account to post comments here and on other stories, galleries and polls. Share your thoughts and reply to comments posted by others. Don't have an account on GrandHavenTribune.com? Create a new account today to get started.