Plea deal presented in Shumaker crash case

Becky Vargo • Jul 21, 2015 at 12:47 PM

A resolution to the criminal case for the man police said caused the fatal crash could finally be in sight.

A trial that’s been rescheduled twice could be averted and sentencing set if Steven Paul Spencer of Ravenna accepts a plea deal that was offered to him.

Spencer, 25, is charged with operating while impaired, causing death, in the crash that killed 37-year-old John Shumaker and injured his daughter, Madison, who was 10 at the time.

The maximum penalty for the charge is up to 15 years in prison and a fine of $2,500 to $10,000.

In a hearing on Thursday, Muskegon County Circuit Judge William Marietti agreed to cap the minimum sentence for Spencer at no more than 40 months, or at about the middle of the penal code guidelines' minimum sentence (29-57 months), said Muskegon County Prosecutor D.J. Hilson. That means Spencer would serve at least three years and four months in prison before being eligible for parole.

Spencer has until 5 p.m. today to accept the plea deal, said Senior Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Jim Corbett. If he accepts the deal, the plea hearing would probably be scheduled for next week, Corbett said, and sentencing would be scheduled after that.

If Spencer does not accept the plea agreement, his case is scheduled to go to trial July 9.

Shumaker and his daughter were in the Ravenna area on June 16, 2012, for a softball tournament that got rained out. The Shumakers were on their way home, a couple of miles west of Ravenna on Heights-Ravenna Road, when Spencer’s eastbound pickup truck crossed the centerline and hit their westbound vehicle head-on.

To read more of this story, see today’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.

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