Nunica woman in critical condition after fiery I-96 crash

(UPDATED 3 p.m. Friday) Heather Luke, 32, of Nunica is the driver of the SUV that police say caused the wrong-way crash that killed a Grand Rapids-area man on Thursday night. She remains in critical condition at the Spectrum Butterworth ICU, surrounded by loved ones.
Tribune Staff
Jul 11, 2014

Friends and family are rallying around Luke in her time of need.

"Let's all pray for Heather," asked Daniel Cruz in a post on her Facebook page. "She is fighting for her life."

Luke's boyfriend, Jason Wade, wrote, "My love is in bad shape. She needs love."

The fiery head-on accident happened at about 7:45 p.m. near the 22-mile marker and shut down the interstate for four hours.

A witness and police said the Luke, the driver of a 2005 green Chevrolet Trailblazer, had been driving westbound when she used a restricted emergency turnaround. She then entered the eastbound lanes of I-96, driving west. Several vehicles swerved out of the way to avoid the SUV before it slammed into a Chrysler van, which caught fire.

Luke, who is a packer at Almond Products, was pinned in her SUV for an hour prior to being taken by Aero Med to Spectrum Health in Grand Rapids. The driver of the van died immediately. His name was William “Big Bill” Alfred Foster, 52, and he was working as a courier for a Grand Rapids bank at the time of the crash.

The driver was apparently following a vehicle towing a boat and could not see the wrong-way driver approach. It appears the vehicle towing the boat pulled over, but Foster had no time to avoid the crash.

His son, Patrick Foster, told friends and family that "as much as it breaks me to say it, around 7:45 last night my old man, William Foster, got in a serious head-on collision with another car and was pronounced dead on scene. Last night, my father was taken from me. I'd wish this pain on nobody. I love you pops... just wish I got one last goodbye... you'll never be forgotten."

Many people expressed their condolences, sharing memories of Foster. They described him as a caring man who went out of his way to put a smile on the faces of those around him.

"I'm so sorry for the family and friends that lost a good man," Dawn Larsen said. "He was one of a kind."

Because the deceased man's body was badly burned, officials waited for positive identification with dental records and for notification of family before releasing his identity Friday afternoon.

Ottawa County Sheriff's Capt. Steve Kempker said the crash remains under investigation and "it is unknown why the vehicle driven by Heather Luke at this time was traveling the wrong way on I-96."

Luke's family is asking for prayers for the young woman. Her sister, Jessica Luke, shared with friends on Facebook that the 32-year-old's lungs are not functioning and her heart is bruised.

"She is still here fighting through this," she wrote. "Please keep praying."

Todd Ensing replied, noting that this is so very hard.

"We knew the guy in the other car as well," he said. "Both he and Heather are beautiful people. This is a tragedy."

 

 

Comments

lady1983

My heart goes out to Bill's family and friends in what must be a horrible time for them.

Just a Thought

My thoughts are also with these families, but who exactly is Todd Ensing? Just curious since it says he knew both victims. Wondering if they knew each other? Would be a terrible coincidence...

ohwell

This is what, the third wrong way (second serious, that caused deaths) in a couple of weeks? What is wrong with people and driving the wrong way on a highway?

EINSTEIN

The only explanation that I can think of is that these people are suicidal. No one in there right mind would purposely use an emergency turn around to switch over to the other side of the highway and turn into the path of oncoming traffic.
I once saw a woman who was screaming at her husband in their driveway jump into her car and speed away from their house. She purposely slammed into the first large tree that she saw while he watched. I ran to help her....he did nothing....sheesh!

nextdoor

I think she may have gotten confused at the turnaround.

Interestedreader

Lots insurance infighting to follow this incident.

thecatsmom

Lets wait and see if alcohol or drugs are involved.
I cant imagine going across the highway and not knowing what what to go.

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.