SUV launches onto docked boat

Becky Vargo • Jul 21, 2015 at 11:38 AM

Police confirmed the driver was Cari Draft Elliott. The car had an EcoTrek license plate and a tire cover that said EcoTrek Fitness, Lead Funmaster.

Comments on her Facebook page express concern about her situation. A call placed to Elliott was not returned by press time.

Elliott was taken to North Ottawa Community Hospital by ambulance following the 5:45 a.m. crash. She suffered minor lacerations to the face, said Sgt. Curt Theune of the Spring Lake/Ferrysburg Police Department.

Theune said witnesses told him that Elliott pulled into the Holiday Inn parking lot, backed into a front-end loader, and then accelerated at excessive speed across the parking lot. She went through the trees, became airborne and landed on a 32-foot Sea Ray owned by Grand Ledge-area residents. There was nobody on the boat at the time.

“We’re looking at a potential medical situation,” Theune said when asked how the crash could have happened. “Alcohol is not a factor."

To see more photos from the scene, click here.

Ed Gillies of Frisco, Texas, was visiting friends at the condominiums next to the Holiday Inn when he heard the crash.

“I heard a boom. It sounded like thunder,” Gillies said.

He walked over to the boat and saw Elliott sitting on the boat. He said two people who appeared to be cooks were already there.

“We helped the woman get off the boat,” Gillies said. “She said she blacked out and didn’t really know what happened.”

Gillies said Elliott told him she was driving on Savidge Street, started to get dizzy, so she pulled into the Holiday Inn parking lot. The witnesses told him she backed into the Caterpillar vehicle, and then sped across the parking lot, which was empty at the time.

“I’ve never seen anything like this before,” he said.

Theune said that Elliott was conscious and alert when police arrived. He also had never experienced this kind of a situation.

“I’ve been doing this 22 years and I don’t believe I’ll see it again,” Theune said.

This is not the first time Elliott has had an accident involving the Grand River. On Nov. 20, 2009, she drove into the river just west of her home in Spring Lake Township, having blacked out. She said at the time that she became dizzy, tried to pull off to the side of the road and then realized she was in the river, surrounded by water. Elliott was able to climb onto her car and await rescue by Spring Lake Township firefighters.

Police Chief Roger DeYoung said Elliott probably would not get a ticket, but would likely be required to do a driver re-examination.

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