Bee-distracted driver, victim discuss crash

Becky Vargo • Jul 21, 2015 at 2:39 PM

The 30-year-old Grand Haven woman suffered a cracked eye socket and broken bones above her lip when her car slammed into the back of another vehicle that morning on M-104 in Crockery Township.

Ketner said the crash happened after a bee flew from the back of her car into her face. Because she is allergic to bees, she said she was distracted by the insect and didn’t see a vehicle stopped ahead of her until the last moment.

“It’s not their fault that I hit him,” she said. “I just didn’t see it.”

Tom Larson was driving east on M-104 to a Crockery Township business on Power Drive at the time. He stopped with his turn signal activated, waiting for a chance to make the turn.

“I remember coming to a stop, waiting for oncoming traffic to clear,” the 36-year-old Whitehall man said. “I remember seeing a car off in the distance.”

Larson said the front of his Chevrolet Tahoe was pushed into the oncoming lane when it was struck by Ketner’s Chrysler Sebring. Two seconds earlier or later, he would have been pushed into the path of another car, he said.

Larson said he suffered a “pretty good concussion” and a left arm injury in the crash.

“I’m trying to square things away,” he said. “There’s lots of forgetfulness and losing train of thought.”

Larson said he was glad his parents were visiting him at the time, so he had help with his family.

The certified firefighter and emergency first-responder said he remembers seeing the car careening off into the ditch. He first tried to move his own vehicle off the road, but realized it wasn’t going anywhere.

“I stepped out to go to her vehicle,” Larson said. “I got to the side of the road and my legs folded in pain.”

A couple of days after the crash, Ketner said: “I do hope he’s OK.”

Ketner, who has been the subject of a rash of unflattering comments attached to the crash story on the Grand Haven Tribune website, said she agreed to talk to help clear things up.

“I thought that maybe I could make people see I wasn’t a monster,” she said, her voice filled with emotion over the phone.

To read the whole story, see Saturday’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.

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