Pick-up truck crashes into bike path bridge

Slippery roads led to vehicles spinning off and striking two sections of the bike path boardwalk along Ferris Street over the weekend.
Becky Vargo
Feb 11, 2013


A 19-year-old Grand Haven man hit a patch of ice on the road about 1 p.m. on Sunday. He lost control of his 2002 Dodge Dakota and went off the road, striking the bike path bridge, according to Sgt. Steve Austin of the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Department.

Thomas Street was not injured. He was wearing a seatbelt, Austin said.

Several other property damage crashes occurred on Saturday, all in the area of Ferris Street and 160th Avenue, or Comstock Street and 160th Avenue, according to Austin.

In a 3:19 p.m. crash on Ferris, a car hit a tree. At 9 p.m., a car hit a mailbox.

Grand Haven Township Public Works Director Mark VerBerkmoes said the damaged boardwalk bridge area was taped off for safety.

He said a damage estimate was not available because they still had to assess how many posts and boards would need to be replaced.

“Yeah, they’re a mess,” VerBerkmoes said. “It’s going to take a lot to fix them."

The public works director said it would probably be quite a while before the bridges were fixed.

“My understanding is that some of the six-bys that hold up the decking were fractured off,” he said.



Mr. VerBerkmoes needs to address that fact that no plow trucks, salt or sand trucks went down this road Saturday or Sunday which could have drastically reduced the amount of accidents on Ferris Street and possibly eliminated the need for this repair all together. All he is discussing in this article is the cost of fixing the bridge. What about the cost to all the car owners who found their vehicles in the ditch along this road in this two day time frame?


I wonder how long before someone rips the police tape down and gets hurt walking this stretch? Time for baracades or boarding it off?


Two things, one) I hope the township goes after this driver's property damage insurance to get this fixed. Our taxes should not have to support his negligence.
two) All-season tires are a compromise is all seasons! Pickup trucks are crap for driving in the snow. Learn this and slow down!

Say No To Tourist's

Pickup trucks are crap for driving in the snow? 25+yrs pushin'snow, I'll show you what a truck can really do on crappy roads.........


25 years of pushing snow and a 19 year old driving on slippery roads in a 10 year old mini-pickup are two completely different things. Front wheel drive with snow tires, is a much more reliable way to travel.
I drove past this crash scene on the way to work this morning. The photos with the article do not do it justice. There are actually two impact zones on the pathway bridge. You can barely see the first impact way in the background of the first photo. It appears that he hit the bridge traveling west bound, bounced off and traveled across the road, was directed back across the road from the south side by the snow banks on that side, then hit the bridge a second time. The impact in the photo appears to be where he ended up.
All I can say is, he must have been flying!
What probably happened was he let the vehicle drift off the road, got his front wheel caught in the frozen snow, which made it veer into the bridge, resulting, from the excess speed, the rest of the story!


WOW you sound like Joe Friday, keep up the good work sporty

Say No To Tourist's

Yeah your right, a 19 year old with barely any experiance driving in winter conditions and not knowing how to read the roads could very well be the fault. It has nothing to do with it being a 10 yr old truck, bad tires maybe? BTW a Dakota is a mid sized truck. Funny how you say Front wheel drive with snow tires, is a much more reliable way to travel. Yup there were way more front wheel drives in the ditches than 4X4's this year....


I seen all 3 accidents on that section of the road that weekend, and yes the road/weather was bad. Could they have been avoided, I have to think there could have been a more pro-active response from the township and county. But it never seems to bother either one of them. Why can't it be salted in those areas better, instead of a little drop of salt here and there. Too much money? Not enough salt? Is a persons life not that important? I DOUBT IT! I agree people need to slow down and pay attention while driving, especially in the bad weather. But I seen all to much happen on that road to which it seems nothing to the county and the township to worry about! I have had 2 accidents on that road within my family, one recently this past year, my wife was hit from behind while stopped making a turn into our street, pretty bad but no injuries. But the other was my daughter who lost her life on that road one winter morning, so think about that. So maybe the township can get with the county and maybe do something about it, and maybe people can slow down and pay attention to the highways. Hopefully it does not affect their life as it did mine.


Hendee, that took the steam out of "Say no to Tourists" (terrible name) and "GH55"; the discussion on trucks, tires, and four wheel drives isn't very important now. I am very sorry for your lose.

Say No To Tourist's

Your name aint much better.....Ya I'm sorry for their loss too. Come ride with me once while plowing, I'll show ya how a seasoned vet can run the roads safely in a truck with tires and 4 wheel drive. You might get white knuckles, but my vehicle will be under control at all times.


Or maybe the driver is at fault


Say No, I don't need to come ride with you, I have a big truck with four wheel drive that gets me anywhere I need to go with no issues; I wasn't disagreeing about that.
And, rukidding is sarcasm, Say No To Tourist's is biting the hand that feeds this community. Hear the silence? I love the sound you make when you shut up.
I am currently UNSUPERVISED, I know it freaks me out too; but the possibilities are endless.

Say No To Tourist's

Biting the hand that feeds this community? Thanks I just spit coffee on my monitor...... Oh how I wished that were true, I could go on with a whole drawn out spew about that. Fact is the tourons only increase sales by 2-3% throught out the year and Coast Guard fireworks night show an increased sales of around 40%+ including the days prior to the fireworks. This is from an independent marketing and sales firms analysis of my business' in the downtown area, now factor in the increased operating and labors costs and these business' only make a straight across the board 10-12% total profit. You want to know who makes the real money, its the street vendors and the carnival company. Your philosophy that tourists support this community is totaly debunked and can be proven in multiple ways. Hear the silence? I love the sound you make when you shut up.


What is it going to take - another death? (I am so sorry for your loss, Hendee, I remember when that happened) before the road commission figures out that maybe Ferris Street should be salted in its entirety from 152nd to US31? Ferris was a sheet of ice for the majority of the weekend. The 19 year old wasn't the only individual who got in an accident on Ferris that day. How about the 30 something Mom who was in an accident as well, with her 9 year old in the car? What if she would have died? What if the 9 year old would have died? Tragedy. All to save a few dollars on salt/sand? It will probably cost the township more to fix the bridges in those two areas than it would cost the county to salt/sand Ferris. Big truck, little truck, that really is not the issue. The main issue is that Ferris is a well traveled road, by people of all ages (especially teenagers -- it leads to the high school!), and there have been one too many accidents and slideoffs on that road not only this winter, but in previous winters as well. It's time for the county to take a look at this issue before we lose another life.

Say No To Tourist's

Good point, problem is Ferris is considered a secondary road like most others and does not recieve the attention it should unlike lincoln st because of the amount of homes in a certain stretch. Maybe once its built up more the county may change its way of handling the road. Too bad all the sub divisions are on the far east side of Ferris. The only suggestion I have is to call the county when the road gets the way it was and has been all these years, maybe they'll listen with enough complaints.


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