Speeding factor in two crashes on Mercury

Police insist that a Grand Haven Township road is safe, despite two crashes this past weekend and several other fatal auto crashes in recent years.
Becky Vargo
Apr 9, 2013

 

“Mercury Drive is a safe stretch of roadway, as long as people obey the speed limit and drive attentively," said Sgt. Steve Austin of the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Department.

One of the weekend crashes took the life of 18-year-old Spencer Daniel McGregor. He was driving northwest on Mercury Drive at about 5:15 a.m. Saturday when he lost control of the vehicle. The vehicle rolled over and struck a tree.

“The preliminary investigation shows he was driving at a high rate of speed,” Austin said. “The actual speed still has to be calculated.”

The posted speed limit for the entire stretch of Mercury Drive — which runs from the Grand Haven city limits to 144th Avenue — is 45 mph, said Fred Keena, traffic engineer for the Ottawa County Road Commission.

The road is in good condition, having been reconstructed from 2005 to 2007, Keena said.

“There’s no longer any passing zones,” he said. “That keeps vehicles from going excessively fast.”

Keena said he is not aware of any roadway problems where the crashes occurred on Saturday.

“We’ll go out and look at our signing,” he said. “We’ll also check pavement conditions and shoulder conditions.”

Austin said there is nothing in the investigative reports to show any unusual circumstances that could have contributed to either crash on Saturday.

The crash that killed McGregor occurred near Ammeraal Avenue, about a half-mile south of Comstock Street. The second crash, which occurred shortly after 10 p.m., was on the approach to the Millhouse Bayou bridge, just southeast of Bignell Drive.

“The fatal crash was speed related,” Austin said. “The second crash into the guardrail was speed and alcohol related.”

A 43-year-old Robinson Township man was injured in the second crash when his pickup truck went over a guardrail, rolled down an embankment and landed on its wheels in a marshy area next to the Grand River. A North Ottawa Community Hospital spokesperson said the man was treated for his injuries and released.

A passenger in the truck — Tonya Korving, 43, also of Robinson Township — was also treated at the Grand Haven hospital and released, Austin said.

Austin said the man is being charged with operating under the influence of alcohol. His name was not released pending his arraignment later this month.

It was unknown if alcohol was a factor in the crash that killed McGregor, Austin said. Toxicology results are pending.

McGregor’s driver’s license was suspended at the time of his crash, Austin said. Court records indicate that McGregor’s license was suspended for six months, effective Dec. 19, 2012, when he was sentenced in Ottawa County District Court on a charge of use of marijuana.

McGregor also had misdemeanor convictions in 2011 and 2012 for minor in possession of alcohol, possession of drug paraphernalia, and a probation violation.

Police are still investigating the ownership of the vehicle McGregor crashed early Saturday, a 2001 Jeep Cherokee.

The Klaassen Family Funeral Home is handling funeral arrangements for McGregor. Grieving friends have been placing flowers at the site of the crash.

Previous fatal crashes in the area:

— In February 2009, a 66-year-old died in a single-vehicle crash, medical related: Mercury/152nd Avenue.

— In August 2009, a 35-year-old man was killed when a tree fell on top of his car: Mercury at Ammeraal.

— In September 2006, an 81-year-old crossed the center line, struck another car head-on: Mercury near 152nd Avenue. Police called it a medical-related crash.

— In November 2005, 15-year-old Michael Herman lost control of a car on an icy, snowy road and hit another car: Mercury/Lake Avenue area. He had a learner's permit.

Comments

CarpeDiem0801

How low must the Tribune get? On the 3rd day after Spencer's passing, in a time when family & friends are still grieving, you have the idea to waft dirty laundry into the community. While your points are factual and you did your research give everyone time to recover before you sink to a level like this? What good did ANY of that information do anyone?? Shame on you.

Nutty Bar

So instaed of having a NEWSpaper you'd rather have an EMOTIONpaper? Shame on you for using someone's death to try and sound like a hero. "What good did this do?" I feel safer now knowing the road is OK. I already knew people are dangerous, even "The Best" ones.

Bigwaves99

I agree with you. I didn't know this young man or his family, but was it really necessary to publish his record like that???? Hugely disappointed in the judgement call behind this.

christopher

A couple of things to consider. This "offense" that was reported was not old history. It sounds like it was 4 months ago. With that said, I think I agree that it may not be necessary to print the details. However, the part of the license being suspended is a pretty important part of this picture. Someone without a driver's license should not be driving and if they were not driving the accident would not have happened. In the end, it is a sad situation for all.

Watchdog

Well GHT, I am here to flame you for this one. I really had to convince myself to make an account for this site, because Lord know's I know I won't be reading anything newsworthy...Likely the reason this publication is known as "The Grand Haven Fish wrap." (That's all it's good for.)

On that note, this article is not only distasteful and inconsiderate, I am offended that you would publish such inconsiderate garbage after OUR community lost a young man, and expecting father in a crash. Not only is this not even remotely supportive of his family or community, it is mere muckraking in what I can only see as a far cry for attention, not unlike the tabloids. I think the only difference between the two is tabloid editors catch far more mistakes and typo's than your editing department.

This is absolutely atrocious, and I am glad I stopped getting a subscription to this half-assed gossip paper years ago. In fact, if it were not for this article, I wouldn't have an account on this site, because I can get less slanted information from FOX news. The implications you are making (before a toxicology report has even been returned) is SO unprofessional and distasteful. I was so struck that you considered this appropriate to publish in a time a grief, that I broke down and made an account for the mere purpose of expressing my distaste not only for this article but for this paper as a whole...CLEAN UP YOUR ACT

Nutty Bar

Someone who brakes down as easily as you described yourself should Clean Up their own Act before judging others. Those of us living near the incident deserve to know what happened for our families and our own safety! That's how community operates, protecting eachother. The truth only hurts bad people. This isn't a "Support" paper it's a "Newspaper"... the support comes from such community as you above mentioned. If you're so anti-tribune why'd you read this in the first place? Aren't you really more upset with yourself for not following through with your own commitments?

just-a-guy

This is a sad situation for all. But I think some of the comments are are a little of the mark.
All the Tribune did was post some facts. If this young man was in an accident involving your wife, son, daughter or other. While driving with a suspended license, I believe you would have a totally different outlook. Unfortunately if he hadn't broken the law and had his license suspended and then broken it again by driving. This tragic situation would not be happening. My heart and prayers go out to his family.

GHJames

Courtesy would've been to wait for the official report, let the family bury him in peace before bringing this up. I agree there is probably going to be a teachable moment here to illustrate what not to do for other young drivers, but that time has yet to come in this case.

Nutty Bar

No, coutesy was what the Tribune did by publishing the "God only takes the best" article. If you read any further on the incident then you weren't looking for coutesy you were curious of what happened. Just because the truth doesn't make you happy doesn't mean someone was un-courteous.

lalaland

It is very sad to lose the young man and sympathy to the family.Who let him drive the jeep? I am glad the GHT reported his history there are people who knew his history and still he had access to a vehicle,good thing the accident didnt happen at 8:15am lots of people use the trail that he crossed and hit the tree.

rukidding

I don't disagree that the information about Spencer's driving record is relevant and certainly needs to be shared in the discussion about this tragedy. The timing is not only suspect, another week would have been better, but I feel the way the information was presented had no thought.

To the McGregor family, my sincere condolences to you all; your lives will be forever changed. I know it seems like you will not be able to go on, given this lose; you will. The pain and the hole in your heart will always be there but you will learn to deal with it; it takes time. You have lost part of yourself, there is no getting it back, remember good times and speak of them and Spencer, by name; often. Don't place blame of any kind, don't listen or participate in negative conversations, and for the love of Spencer, hold each other tight and support one another.

God Bless

FuturaGH

In Grand Haven we all understand how the Police Operate!

Instead of actually Policing Crimes they target teens in order to accumulate charges upon their records. Purposefully criminalizing the citizenry at a young age in order to disqualify future opportunities.

It is the responsibility of the parents to stand up and protect the children from frivolous charges that will be Blasted Across The Front Pages In Case Of Accidental Death!

Shame is felt!

This man is Forgiven in Death

GHJames

FuturaGH, what an ignorant view of how police work. Did you ever think that every time he got a ticket or arrest it was another attempt to get him on the right path in life? You would complain if the cops all sat on their rear ends that they were lazy and not doing the job your taxes pay them to do. Here you complain that you don't like them actually going out and doing the job you pay them to do. If someone is doing something illegal, weather it is speeding or murder, the police have an obligation as public servants to deal with it. I would say the charges mentioned were not frivolous as the same type of violation may have been what killed the poor guy. Where were the police that night? If they had arrested him for another frivolous traffic violation a mile back down the road he would still be alive today.
But it doesn't belong on the front page before his funeral is even over and he doesn't need to be forgiven for his mistakes. He already paid his punishments.

FuturaGH

You are following the narrative layed out before you.

Wrecklessly assuming the facts about this young man!

He is Forgiven Eternally , not by Mans Accord!

Nutty Bar

-John 8:32, “…veritas vos liberabit.”
Translation: “…and the truth shall make you free.”

Living very close to the accident on a path I frequently walk I deserve as a citizen to know if what happened was just a freak mistake by an individual, or one by my own local government. Knowing it was a personal one rather than government allows me my previous 99.9% feeling of safety knowing that the path is as safe as it always was.

I know some of the McGregor family and what they’ve been going thru. Like all of you I do not wish them anymore harm than they already have. I feel for them, this is a very sad moment in time and I hope they find peace. I never personally knew Spencer, and though like anyone I hear he had his issues I never heard anything horrible about him. But the truth is the truth and when people jump the gun on making someone look better than they were it just screams cover-up (which the Tribune doesn’t seem to want to do). The previous articles are the ones that should have been waited on for printing. This is just another example of families with influence controlling their image and trying to keep the truth from coming out. This is truly sad. I can't help feeling angry that this city likes to make heroes out to look like villains and villains to look like heroes. I’m not saying Spencer was a villain, but those who knew him or of him have a different story than the overly beautiful one painted in the previous article.

If it's not OK to print this kind of an article than the previous ones shouldn't have been printed either! "God only takes the best"? Is this really true if such person violates the law by driving suspended and at a high rate of speed? If you actually go and look at the scene it's obvious it was excessive speed. That doesn't happen at 45mph. Sorry. I know no-one wants to believe things like this… someone who accidentally kills themselves by just simply not being safe doesn’t sit well with most. Does a good father drive so recklessly he kills himself? Once again like everyone I am saddened by this event and feel for the family, but we have to be real about this.

As much as I agree families should have time to grieve. I also know that when these things happen seldom do the families involved actually pay attention to this news. So who really cares what’s printed unless it’s completely fabricated. If they wait too long to tell us things it’s not “NEWS”! Without some of what they stated in this article people would keep thinking that “God only takes the best” making it OK to drive illegally, over speed, and possibly more because that’s what God’s “BEST” people do. Are you trying to say Christians don’t have anyone better than that? Would you feel the same way if an innocent person was walking on the bike path and was killed by this accident? Or what if he had hit someone head on? Whatever was the cause it could’ve been worse and that should be considered when gauging character and whatnot. Luck can be good or bad. Luckily the person who caused the accident only killed themselves.
So getting angry over what gets printed is either just some personal issue or you are trying to make something bad look good, otherwise known as covering up the truth. Obviously I’m not trying to cover the truth, so my personal issue is this: NONE of the people close to me have ever gotten such "hush, hush" treatment to make them look great, even though I know for a fact they were better people. We just don’t have influence in this town, simple as that. I am not jealous, just looking for fairness, equality, and truth. NO ONE should be allowed to control the truth! The Tribune has only done their job. If you want to be surrounded by lies to feel better about this world there are places you can go and do that, News forums should not be one of them!

I don’t say all this because I wish my family/friends could have their lives covered up with sugar too; I say all this ‘cause if we let bad people look good and good people look bad, what kind of civilization/society are we running? I know plenty of people who have excelled at being good, even saving others lives, just to die and be made look bad, and yet I never commented. They did what they did, and in the end whether they did something bad or not, I did NOT change my views of those people. If you have worried that this will change people’s views of Spencer then either he wasn’t as good as they portray or you just didn’t know him. We should all live and die with the truth. Accepting and speaking the truth builds character, respect, integrity, and honor. Is this not what we should all strive for? Is that not what your Jesus would do?

To those of you who have issue with this article, it would have been wiser to be quiet and accept the fact that the previous article did more than what you wanted. Arguing after that just erases what so called “good” the last article may have achieved in your eyes, because now you leave it open for debate. I don’t mind letting people have a little bit of glory (even if not fully deserved) but once they have it be happy! If you’re not then people like me who don’t get such treatment will voice our opinions too! You got the sugar coating you wanted, it can’t carry on forever. The only reason for you to read this article after the last one is that like myself you too wanted to know the truth of what happened. You obviously weren’t happy when you found out. The only shame to be placed here is with you. You can’t be happy with what you get if you don’t understand what you’re given!

Overall I don’t know anyone who would say Spencer was a bad man. He just made one final mistake. May he rest in peace.

Veritas vos liberabit!

Now you may label and attack me… enjoy.

GHJames

If you have lived near the bike path for more than a week then you knew it was plenty safe before reading it here. Obviously speed was a factor and that should be printed right now because the police have confirmed it with an investigation. I only disagree with printing his criminal record before the full report is released so there is context instead of suggesting something that may or may not be true about an incident. If he was sober, the drug charges are irrelevent, if he was under the influence then they are a part of the story. Until that detail is known it's just dragging his name through the mud. News is based on fact, not using possibly irrelevent past events to insinuate something interesting MAY be true here. I have my opinion about his sobriety at the time of the crash, but until it is backed up as a fact I will keep it to myself. I expect the same of journalists.

Nutty Bar

I apreciate and respect your comment, but anyone living near the bike path should be curious on the safety of Mercury Drive. I grew up here and have personally responded to 5 accidents right in front of my house, witnessed 2 personally, and have come up on already taken care of accident scenes numerous more times; Like this one on my morning work break on Saturday. I was just walking home at the same time the accident occured just days previously after I was done fishing. Glad I don't get weekends off!

Watching the traffic density grow and the passing lanes removed I worry we didn't solve anything. You can't force aggressive driving to cease if you don't police it. Taking passing lanes out just seemed to make the aggressive drivers even more so. My family members and I almost get hit just pulling into our drive quite often now.

As far as the whole record thing, I disagree. It counter balances the previous staements I mentioned above, and unless I missed it I didn't see you complain about that. That is bias. I respect your opinion though and wish no ill will. Just putting my opinion out too. Sometimes releasing some of this information can nudge other potential witnesses to come forward with information. Police work is not always done by the police alone.

Further more to say that the Tribune was suggesting or insinuating anything is wrong. They simply threw out some background information for us to ponder. Is that wrong? I can definately see some of your side, it does seem somewhat of a politicians move, and maybe it wasn't necisarily apropriate given how most people seem to take things. Should that mean we don't state truths? Or maybe we should work on our social issues through education? I don't know. I can't say it would bother me if they left it out. Just know that is buisiness as usual; Look at all the other reports of this nature and you find the same.

All and all the Tribune obviously tries to be aware of family's and their emotions. If they wait too long to print certain things some people won't find it relivant anymore and others may think they're covering something up. Like most things in life reporting comes with a delicate balance.

GHJames

Fair enough NB.

People are funny

I can't believe people are upset because a NEWSpaper is reporting facts as they happen or are discovered. I prefer a NEWSpaper to give me my NEWS in fact form and as it happens rather than wait a week or two. Other news outlets are questioning the safety of Mercury drive rather than saying that an 18 year old adult without a license and a history of drug and alcohol issues was speeding and a drunk lost control and crashed through a guard rail. Thank you GHT for giving me facts instead of uninformed speculation to cause a stir as others do.

Nutty Bar

Well put!

Eyeswideopen

I am beyond disappointed and saddened after reading your comments. Obviously you are both missing a sensitivity chip. Or possibly all of them.

I would love for the parents and friends of Spencer's to know that the majority of people in this community are grieving right along beside you and all agree that our loved ones and people we care about fit perfectly with the quote: "God only takes the very best!!" At least in our eyes, which is all that really matters.
Too bad these busybodies have nothing better to do besides sharpening their claws and attacking the wounded. I for one, would never do such a thing, (I can't imagine!!!)no matter how I felt or which side I'm on, ..."Somethings are just better left unsaid." (ESPECIALLY on a site where everybody can read it and a young person has lost their life) Unspeakable!! Very disturbing and extremely sad....

My sincere condolences and heartfelt sympathy to Spencer's family and friends. God Bless you all at this very difficult time~

alterego

I felt the original report was lacking details that could be helpful to understand the situation in a professional manner. It seems that reporters take liberties to report and put their 'spin' on articles 'at will.' While speed was an obvious factor, I often wonder how they can report alcohol as a factor adding to a crash is immediately available for some reporting, but not others. It seems that the reporting for this young man has been lacking on several fronts. I agree with Nutty Bar, "If it's not OK to print this kind of an article than the previous ones shouldn't have been printed either! "God only takes the best"? Is this really true if such person violates the law by driving suspended and at a high rate of speed? If you actually go and look at the scene it's obvious it was excessive speed. That doesn't happen at 45mph. Sorry. I know no-one wants to believe things like this… someone who accidentally kills themselves by just simply not being safe doesn’t sit well with most. Does a good father drive so recklessly he kills himself? " I am just glad Spencer didn't take out a family either on the bike path or in a vehicle. Driving on a suspended license means he was taking a risk, not only for himself, but what happened is significantly affecting his family and loved ones. I would love to see reporting on how (pending toxicology results) recovery is a tough thing to over come. Use this example to educate members of the community who also take those risks and drive when they aren't supposed to. Above all, reporting needs to be fair and complete.

GHParent

No one said he was perfect just that he was the best. He was great with kids & people & never would questions someone's integrity. I am not trying to dispute you I just want you to know he was the best. But he was also human. He was very much into his faith. He made bad choices just as most teens do. I ask that just because he made those bad choices that you not judge him on that alone. Just as I would not judge you for your interpretation of the article. Have a blessed day.

lakeshorelistener

Could the GHT have waited for some time to pass before printing negative News about a passing young community member? Yes...Should they withhold facts to his record and the details of the crash? No... I do believe that there are a number of things at play here. One of you asked "who's Jeep was it"? That should not matter. He made a choice and with all sadness he did pay the ultimate price for that choice made. As far as the reporting and the timing we all know what would have been the right thing to do. A few days would not have made much of a difference. His family will have to work through what has been written, true or otherwise.

To the McGregor family, the pain and sorrow is great now but I could only hope that no matter what the circumstances of Daniel's passing that our community will reach out in support over your loss. May he rest in peace and you be able to remember nothing but the best of him.

GHParent

As someone who grew up in GH I never thought Mercury wasn't safe. Anyone who is familiar with the area & where the accident happened could tell it was speed. It really doesn't matter why this happened what his past was to anyone that knew Spencer & loved him. He was good & did a lot of good for a lot of people. Teenagers speed teens experiment with drugs & alcohol. Anyone to think that just because it was published in the paper that he has makes him not a good person doesn't remember what it was like to be a teenager or to raise a teenager. This article won't change my opinion of Spencer & for those who never got the chance. I'm sad that you didn't get to meet him to know why people are saying "God only takes the best". He was a christian boy with a very strong christian faith he has found eternal life and all his wrong will be forgiven.

 

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