Robinson Township motorcyclist killed in crash

Mark Brooky • Jul 21, 2015 at 11:44 AM

Police said Cletis Burmingham, 58, was killed when the SUV pulled out in front of his motorcycle at a Blendon Township intersection, about a mile west of Hudsonville, at 11:47 a.m.

The Ottawa County Sheriff's Department said Burmingham was wearing a helmet at the time of the crash. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

NOTE: If you knew Cletis Burmingham and would like to talk about who he was and what he meant to the community, please contact reporter Becky Vargo by e-mail at bvargo@grandhaventribune.com or by phone at 616-842-6400 ext. 231. She is writing a tribute story about him.

Sgt. Steve Austin said Keri Folkema was driving a 2005 Chevy Trailblazer east on Barry Street when she stopped for the stop sign at 48th Avenue. The Hudsonville woman told police she then pulled forward to see northbound traffic over a hill.

Burmingham was driving his 2005 Suzuki Intruder south on 48th and ran into the driver's side of the SUV.

"Mr. Burmingham took evasive action as (the SUV) pulled up closer to the intersection, steering his motorcycle to the right and struck the Trailblazer," Austin said. "He was ejected from his motorcycle."

Folkema, 26, was wearing a seatbelt, Austin said, and not hurt. Folkema's 1-year-old daughter was in the backseat of her SUV in a car seat, and also was not injured.

The crash remains under investigation by the Sheriff's Department. Austin said the completed report will be forwarded to the Ottawa County Prosecutor's Office for review of possible charges.

County records show Burmingham lived on 144th Avenue in Robinson Township.

More details on this story will be published in Thursday's Tribune.

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