Shumaker family looks forward after plea accepted

Amanda Shumaker is breathing a little easier now that the man who police say caused a head-on crash that killed her husband a year ago has accepted a plea deal.
Becky Vargo
Jun 22, 2013


Steven Paul Spencer, 25, agreed Friday to take the deal offered to him a day earlier, avoiding a trial.

“The emotional roller coaster will be over,” said Amanda Shumaker of Grand Haven Township. "(A trial) would be too much for the girls. We’ve gone through enough."

Spencer is charged in connection with the crash that killed Amanda's husband and the father of her two daughters, John Shumaker. The charge — operating while impaired (drugs, causing death) — is punishable by up to 15 years in prison.

Spencer’s attorney, Matt Kacel, said his client had until 5 p.m. Friday to accept the deal; otherwise, the case would have gone to trial on July 9. The call was received about 4:30 p.m., Kacel said.

John Shumaker and his daughter, Madison, were driving home from a rained-out softball tournament in the Ravenna area on June 16, 2012, when their westbound car was hit head-on by Spencer's pickup truck, police said. Spencer was driving east on Heights-Ravenna Road and pulled out to pass another car during a rainstorm.

“It was a dumb decision on his part, to pass in the rain,” Kacel said.

Spencer also admitted to smoking marijuana earlier that day, but toxicology tests showed only a trace of marijuana in his blood, Kacel said.

To read more of this story, see Saturday’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.



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