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One dead in multi-car pileup on U.S. 31

Cheryl Welch • Jul 21, 2015 at 12:06 PM

WZZM-TV reported that Robert "Bob" Cutler, 58, died in the multi-car pileup on U.S. 31.

Cutler was the former chairman of the Muskegon Area Chamber of Commerce and owner of Muskegon Brake and Tire.

Investigators said Cutler was alone in his car when he hit another vehicle that had stopped on the freeway because of the pileup ahead. Cutler was taken to a Muskegon-area hospital, where doctors pronounced him dead.

The first call about the crash was received at 10:02 a.m. At least 15 to 20 vehicles were involved in the crash.

Emergency personnel untangled the multi-vehicle crash that happened north near the Laketon Street exit.

Spring Lake Township resident Kevin Kaiser was driving north on U.S. 31 when the collisions occurred. He said it appeared that a semitrailer truck hit something near or under the underpass just before the Laketon exit. People started slowing down, then started sliding.

"Somebody slammed into the guy to the left of me, then someone slammed into the right of me," Kaiser said. "People were sliding everywhere. It was crazy."

Another car spun around to his left and that car's passenger side crunched into the vehicle in front of it.

Kaiser said most of the drivers were creeping along at 25-35 mph when the collisions occurred. He saw about 20 cars involved in the series of slide-offs and collisions, but it was unclear how many sustained serious damage.

"The sounds of crumpling metal, sliding cars and breaking glass surrounded me," he said. "I have no idea how I didn't get hit."

Fruitport Township and Norton Shores police reported that there were several different crashes on U.S. 31 between Broadway and Laketon streets.

WZZM-TV earlier reported that at least one person was seriously injured after a vehicle struck a semitrailer truck. Several people were seriously injured and transported to area hospitals by ambulance.

The roadway was opened back up after 11:30 a.m.

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