Former Shape president gets deal in crash charges
Jul 21, 2015 at 12:43 PM
Tom DeVoursney, 54, of Norton Shores, entered a no-contest plea on May 30 in Muskegon County Circuit Court to reduced charges of attempted malicious destruction of property of more than $1,000 and reckless driving.
The first charge is a felony that carries a punishment of up to two and a half years in prison. The reckless driving charge is a 93-day misdemeanor.
In exchange for the plea, the original felony charge of reckless driving causing serious injury was dismissed. Punishment for this charge would have been up to five years in prison, said Vic Fitz, the prosecuting attorney for Cass County.
Fitz is handling the case because Muskegon County Prosecutor D.J. Hilson disqualified himself. DeVoursney is a board member of the school that Hilson's children attend, Fitz said.
Fitz said the misdemeanor charge also carries a six-point license penalty and possible driver’s license sanctions.
The prosecutor said the plea agreement was made after conversations with Norton Shores police and Anthony Wilson, the passenger in DeVoursney's car who also suffered injuries in the crash.
Court officials said DeVoursney entered his plea after an agreement to cap his jail sentence at 60 days.
Wilson did not want to pursue charges, Fitz said.
“However, the prosecutor’s office felt it was important to secure a felony conviction based on the facts of the case,” Fitz said.
DeVoursney was driving a 2006 Ford GT at a high rate of speed on Sternberg Road in Norton Shores, west of U.S. 31, on Sept. 18, 2011. He crashed after passing a car and then trying to avoid another car turning in front of him, police said.
The sports car skidded across five lanes of traffic and struck a utility pole, causing the car to break into pieces and catch on fire.
Passersby pulled DeVoursney and Wilson from the mangled vehicle.
“They both had significant injuries and they are both still recovering,” Fitz said.
DeVoursney was charged in June 2012, nearly nine months after the crash. Then-Muskegon County Prosecutor Tony Tague said it took that long for officials to authorize a charge because they were waiting for a toxicology report from the state police.
“Because there was no death involved, it was a lower priority,” Tague said.
The toxicology report revealed that there were no drugs in DeVoursney’s system, Norton Shores Police Chief Dan Shaw said.
The report was also delayed because the state police were asked to assist in the crash reconstruction because of the type of vehicle. Shaw compared the Ford GT to a street-legal race car.
DeVoursney stepped down from his role as president of Shape Corp. after the crash. He is still listed on the company's website as being on the corporation's Board of Directors.