GH man hit by wrong-way driver clings to life

Becky Vargo • Jul 21, 2015 at 2:43 PM

Mitchell Hamm was headed east on the freeway, west of 68th Avenue, shortly after 4 a.m. Saturday when his 2002 Buick Regal was struck head-on.

The driver of the wrong-way car, Michael Anthony Johnson, 39, of Grand Rapids, died in the crash.

Ottawa County Central Dispatch received several calls about the wrong-way driver.

“Within two minutes of the first call, a call came in of a head-on crash that had occurred,” said Capt. Steve Kempker of the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Department.

A neighbor of the Hamms, who live near Lakeshore Middle School, said he was traveling to Kent County to do a police ride-along as part of his criminal justice training at Ferris State University.

“I’ve known him all his life,” said the neighbor who asked not to be identified. “He’s a good kid.”

“He’s young and he’s strong,” she said. “All you can do is pray.”

The young man's father, Jeff Hamm, verified this morning his son was scheduled to start a 5 a.m. shift on Saturday with the Kent County Sheriff's Department as part of a summer internship.

Jeff said Mitchell has had multiple surgeries and suffered a lot of broken bones in his lower body.

Although he is heavily sedated, Mitchell has been able to answer the doctor's questions, and wiggle fingers and toes, his father said.

See the full story in the print or electronic editions of Monday's Grand Haven Tribune.

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