Crashes slow U.S. 31 traffic

Becky Vargo • Jul 21, 2015 at 12:50 PM

Spring Lake/Ferrysburg police responded to one of the crashes shortly after noon on the U.S. 31 drawbridge. Police were not available to provide any information on the crash because they were handling several crashes within a couple of hours on U.S. 31, said Lori Spelde of the Spring Lake/Ferrysburg Police Department.

Spelde said traffic was backed up on the highway on Monday afternoon because the Electric Forest Festival at the Double JJ Ranch in Rothbury concluded that day.

“This happens every year at this time,” she said.

A crash with minor injuries occurred on U.S. 31 between Taft and VanWagoner streets at 2:30 p.m. A three-car crash with no injuries was reported in the same area a short time later.

South of Grand Haven, Ottawa County Sheriff’s deputies and Grand Haven Township Fire-Rescue personnel responded to a crash near the intersection of U.S. 31 and Ferris Street at 5:09 p.m.

Witnesses Esther Ellcey and Anita Keson of Grand Haven said they driving south on U.S. 31 and were starting to pass a GMC Yukon when Keson exclaimed, “Mom, Mom, he’s passed out.”

Ellcey said they were approaching the Ferris Street intersection and the traffic signal had turned red, but the man driving the Yukon never put on his brakes.

“I beeped my horn to try to wake him up,” Ellcey said.

Keson said she was already calling 911 before the Yukon hit one car, bounced off it and hit a white van and two other cars.

Keson ran up to the Yukon in time to see the female passenger get out, go around to the driver’s side, then stumble away and fall, and her head hit the pavement.

“She was already bleeding from the mouth before that,” Keson said.

Both occupants of the Yukon were taken by ambulance to North Ottawa Community Hospital. Police said the couple were heading home to Indiana from the Electric Forest Festival.

Alcohol is not believed to have been a factor in the crash, police said.

The driver of the Yukon, Chase Hannusch, 21, of Layafette, Ind., admitted to falling asleep prior to the crash, said Sgt. Brian Buter of the Ottawa County Sheriff's Department.

Hannusch was ticketed for careless driving.

His passenger was his sister, Lessa Ledbetter, 28, of Tucson, Ariz.

Ledbetter suffered minor injuries in the crash and was treated at North Ottawa Community Hospital, Buter said.

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