Spencer McGregor drove the SUV off Mercury Drive in Grand Haven Township at about 5:15 a.m. April 6. It wrapped around a tree and the Grand Haven teen was found dead at the scene.
An autopsy revealed that McGregor’s blood-alcohol level was 0.15 at the time of the crash. The legal limit for driving in Michigan is 0.08.
The autopsy report also states that McGregor had an elevated level of THC (marijuana) in his system, said Sgt. Steve Austin of the Ottawa County Sheriff's Department.
The police investigation revealed that the SUV had been traveling at 83 mph at the time he crashed it, Austin said. The posted speed limit in that area is 45 mph.
The vehicle McGregor was driving belonged to Mitchell Buikema, and police at first thought that Buikema was behind the wheel.
Friends and family say they are still dealing with the loss of the young man.
“I think about him all the time,” said his best friend, Brad DeBruyn. “Everybody does. ...He was a good guy."
Haley Start, who was McGregor's girlfriend, said she can't believe it has been nearly six months since his death.
“I just remember it like it was yesterday,” the Grand Haven woman said this week.
Start said some joy was brought into her life when she gave birth to their son, Grayson Mylo Spencer McGregor, on May 23 — six days after Spencer’s birthday, she noted. Start said the child looks just like his father.
“Every day I look at him, I see Spencer,” she said. “It’s a good thing, because I always have a little piece of him forever.”
McGregor was staying with friends on Buchanan Street on the night before the fatal crash, Austin said.
“About 2 a.m., they all crashed for the night,” Austin said. “Spencer did bring a pillow and a blanket.”
But sometime during the night, McGregor woke up, grabbed the keys to a 2001 Jeep Cherokee and removed the vehicle from the garage. No one saw or heard him go.
Austin said McGregor drove northwest on Mercury Drive, toward Grand Haven, when he lost control of the vehicle on the curve near Ammeraal Street. The vehicle slid sideways across the centerline, hit the curb and rolled over, with the roof of the Jeep wrapping around a tree.
While firefighters conducted a lengthy extrication, police drove out to the Buikema home in Nunica to see if they could find out who might be in the car, Austin said.
Buikema's parents contacted their son on his phone, at which time he went into the garage and saw that his car was missing. He also determined at that time that McGregor was missing.
Austin said police found McGregor's identification after extricating him from the smashed SUV. Police also determined that McGregor was wearing a seatbelt.
Austin said the Ottawa County Prosecutor’s Office reviewed the case and did not file any charges.
Austin said that McGregor took his own alcohol to the gathering.
“It is unknown where or how he got it,” Austin said.
McGregor’s driver’s license was suspended at the time of the crash, Austin added.
Start said she was surprised to hear about the alcohol level in McGregor’s blood when he died, despite friends telling her he had been drinking and smoking that night.
“He told me he was going to be sober for me and Grayson,” she said.
Start said she takes her son to visit McGregor's grave every week.
“It honestly still hasn’t kicked in yet ... that he’s gone forever,” she said. “... He always told me not to cry and be strong."
Start said part of being strong is continuing her job at a local restaurant and starting college classes, while taking care of the baby. She said McGregor’s family and her family have pitched in a lot to help.
When her son gets older, Start said she will tell him his father loves him and wishes he could be there to help. She also has McGregor’s skateboard to give to her son when he is old enough.